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11/11/2013 9:45:00 AM Letters to the editor: Utica needs to take time to study sand mine issue carefully
To the Utica Village Board of Trustees:
I am a 25-year resident of Waltham Township, which is relatively new compared to many of my neighbors. I have seen many changes just over that period of time as the intersection with I-80 has become developed, and more semis with double trailers now fly past our house on their way to and from the truck stop and trucking terminals on Route 6. What used to be a rural blacktop used by residents and farmers has now become a frontage road for I-39.
I’m not sure how it will affect me directly, but I keep thinking about the possible impact of the sand mining that is scheduled to begin several miles south of our house. Even though it won’t be next to my house, I wonder if another mining operation could negatively affect our aquifer and water quality, the value of our real estate and create even more truck traffic.
La Salle County has always been a mining area. We still have active gravel and sand pits throughout the county and see leftover slag piles from much earlier mining operations. But it has also been a farming area with some of the best and most productive top soil in the country. Our country and the world depends on U.S. farmers to produce food to feed the world. For every mining operation, there is a permanent loss of farmland. It can never be replaced.
I worry about this trend to take away farmland for the future generations — our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. How long will mining jobs last compared the productivity of farmland?
I hope the village board will carefully review the current request presented at the Nov. 20 meeting. The board has already approved the annexation and rezoning of farmland for a mining operation that has caused many objections. I think that La Salle County’s current moratorium on new mining operations should be reviewed to see what they are considering for the long-term impact of this type of operation.
Change is hard, especially when it will affect our own township and have a permanent impact on our environment. Carefully evaluating information and making an informed decision takes time and effort on the part of everyone who has the responsibility of voting to approve or disapprove these changes. I hope every village trustee will take the time needed to make the right decision for everyone.
Diana Deutsch, Waltham Township
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