Environmental
6:11 am
Fri February 7, 2014

LaSalle County Is Getting Another Sand Mine

The latest project was approved by the village of Utica. The decision could spur legal action from opponents.

This week, the Utica Village Board approved a plan that essentially paves the way for a Chicago-area company to build the sand mine on 500 acres of land. Many residents voiced opposition to the project, citing health and environmental concerns, noise, and the effect on property values.

Many were also angered when the plan included some last-minute revisions. But Mayor Gloria Alvarado says had they said no, the company would have sought to annex land in nearby LaSalle, meaning that Utica would get some of the headaches, but not the economic benefit.

“This will bring high-paying jobs to the area,” Alvarado said.

Attorney Walt Zukowski represents various opponents of the plan. He says there are questions about how the process was handled by the board.

“They actually chose not to allow public comment, as it related to this document,” Zukowski said.

Zukowski says discussions will be held on whether or not to file a lawsuit. Sand mining has been around in LaSalle County for a long time. But more companies have descended on the area in response to demand for the product, which is used for hydraulic-fracturing.