Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—September 17, 2015. U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly today asked federal and Indiana officials to re-evaluate plans for a proposed quarry in Indiana near the Illinois state line and called for more research into potential impacts the quarry could have on the Kankakee River eco-system in both states.
Many Illinois residents are concerned that water and sand to be pumped from the Indiana quarry could compound flooding problems and negatively impact water quality and natural habitat downstream between Momence and Kankakee, Illinois.
“There’s been a lack of communication between the two states and the federal agencies which protect and monitor water quality and flood control along the Kankakee River,” Rep. Kelly said. “The quarry is in Indiana, but much of the environmental impacts would occur in Illinois.”
Last week the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) issued permits for the controversial quarry despite objections from officials and environmentalists in both states seeking more studies on its potential environmental impacts.
One objection filed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service claimed sedimentation from the quarry could worsen flooding along the river and hurt habitat for rare mussels and bats in Illinois.
But IDEM’s response specifically ignored those concerns and concluded in a written statement: “IDEM is certainly concerned over impacts to aquatic life and especially rare, threatened and endangered species, however, the species and (habitat) beds cited by USFWS are located in Illinois. The Section 401 Water Quality Certification is a statement concerning impacts to water quality and aquatic life only within waters of the State of Indiana.”
“As a Member of Congress, I’m concerned about the river’s eco-system on both sides of the state line,” Kelly said. “The Indiana quarry could have major bi-state impacts on flooding; sand and sediment transportation; endangered fish and wildlife; and water quality. In Illinois, tens of thousands of residents depend on that river every day for jobs, recreation, and drinking water.”
The IDEM permit takes effect Sept. 29 unless there’s a legal or public challenge.