SPRINGFIELD – During a joint meeting of the state’s three river coordinating councils, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and the Illinois River Coordinating Council (IRCC) adopted a resolution calling for transparency in the permit process for a proposed sand mine adjacent to Starved Rock State Park in LaSalle County.
The resolution says the IRCC will work to ensure that the public is provided opportunities to provide input into the state’s actions regarding the mine proposal, calls on council staff to monitor the permitting process, and asks local, state, and federal agencies to consider fully all potentially adverse impacts of the proposed mine.
“The Illinois River Council wants to ensure that Illinois citizens are afforded the right to voice their opinions on this proposal,” Simon said. “Given the potential environmental and economic impacts of this project, it is imperative that those involved in approving permits hear from all sides of this issue and protect the park within the law.”
More than 50 people attended the river council meeting on Monday and 12 members of the public, including environmentalists, union representatives, neighbors of the proposed mine and the president of Mississippi Sands LLC, the mining developer seeking permits for the project, addressed the council.
Simon serves as chair of the Illinois River, Mississippi River and Ohio and Wabash Rivers Coordinating Councils, which are advisory bodies, comprised of citizens and government agency officials that work with local communities to raise awareness of watershed issues.
Starved Rock, known for its hiking trails and eagle watching, set an attendance record in 2011, attracting nearly 2.2 million visitors. It celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2010. The proposed sand mine would create 39 jobs.