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Controversial Sand Mine Clears Hurdle

Posted by wlpo on December 16, 2011

After 14 hours of testimony, it was a unanimous vote in favor of a sand mine east of Starved Rock.

The La Salle County Zoning Board of Appeals said yes to a special use permit for Mississippi Sand to mine silica sand on over 200 acres of land along Route 71. The approval was made with several conditions including limiting blasting to weekdays and daytime hours, voluntary phone calls of when blasts are about to happen and a property appreciation agreement where the sand company adds three percent every year to nearby homes appraised values.

The approval came despite nearby landowners being against the permit. Peg Kramer-Graves says the blasts at U.S. Silica are worse than an earthquake she went thru in Puerto Rico. Neighbor Marv Groneke says he was in good health until U.S. Silica started mining. Since then he’s come down with double pneumonia and emphysema. Nearby landowner Kelly Powell went as far as to look at the sand pit developers and say “I will not have you people kill me”.

Public opinion during last night’s hearing was pretty split with several union members supporting the mine because of job creation. Many environmentalists said the mine will affect Starved Rock in a negative way with noise and destruction of marsh and wetlands.

The La Salle County Board will have final say on the sand mine permit when they meet next month.

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