The effect of frack sand mining operations coming online in and around LaSalle County will now be studied by the state, under a new law sponsored by State Sen. Sue Rezin.
“This region is unlike any other in the country, with rare deposits of very high quality northern white sand,” Rezin said. “Because this industry requires heavy trucks and equipment, we must make sure our roads and bridges can handle all the tools needed for mining. At the same time, it is equally important to make sure the mining doesn’t impact our tourist attractions or citizens who live near these sites. We must protect the people in this area.”
Signed into law on Aug. 18 by Gov. Bruce Rauner, Senate Bill 1803 directs the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to conduct a study on the effects of agricultural, manufacturing, mining, and other industrial operations in LaSalle, DeKalb, Kendall, Grundy, Livingston, Woodford, Marshall, Putnam, Bureau, and Lee counties. IDOT would then submit a report to lawmakers by Jan. 1, 2017, that includes:
- The impact of road usage and traffic pattern disruptions by sand mine trucking companies.
- The potential road improvement plans to alleviate the additional highway traffic caused by sand mine operations.
- The potential for adding new railway traffic caused by sand mine operations.
- The estimates of current and future tourism trends for the state parks and tourism areas in LaSalle County and the effects of sand mine operations on visitors to those parks and tourism areas.
- Recommendations to the General Assembly as to whether further legislation or rulemaking is needed to regulate sand mining in Illinois.
IDOT may consult with any agency it deems necessary to carry out the study.
“IDOT’s report will be a great resource for us as we continue to try to maximize our resources in our area, while minimizing the impact on our citizens,” Rezin said. “Taking a proactive approach now will help us make sure the needs of everyone are met.”
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” is the process of using sand, water and sometimes gas mixtures to break into the underground rock formations hitting new oil and natural gas fields.