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Lt. Governor Sheila Simon Weighs In on Starved Rock

This issue was first aired on The Mike Nowak Show on December 11, 2011 when a listener called in to ask if Mike knew about a proposed sand mine next to Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois. The next week, Mike learned that the LaSalle County zoning board had voted unanimously to approve a special use permit that would allow Mississippi Sand LLC to turn what is now 315 acres of farmland into a 90-foot deep sand quarry. The St. Peter sandstone mined there would be sold to oil and gas drilling companies to be used for hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking." On December 18, Mike interviewed Jack Darin of the Sierra Club and a couple of concerned citizens, who explained why this mine, opposite one of the entrances to the most visited state park in Illinois, would be so damaging to the health of the park and especially to area wetlands. On January 8th, Mike interviewed seven advocates for the park, including John McKee, President of the the Starved Rock Audubon Society, and Daphne Mitchell of the Illinois River Coordinating Council, who continued the call for a re-examination of the issue by the county board. Two days later, on January 10, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon sent this letter to the chairman of the LaSalle County Board, in anticipation of their meeting on January 12. For background, listen to the podcasts (December 18th or January 8) or read about it on Mike's blog.