Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Ind. Gov't. - More on: Singleton Quarry controversy continues
After months of battling back from river advocates here in Kankakee County, the federal Environmental Protection Agency finally has stepped in, saying Illinois deserves a chance to publicly object to an Indiana quarry that threatens the life of the Kankakee River.
It is the first official action the EPA has taken in a dispute between Illinois and Indiana over a quarry proposed by Singleton Stone LLC, which could discharge upward of 52 million gallons of water per day into the Singleton Ditch, the Kankakee River's largest source of sediment.
Tinka Hyde, the federal agency's water division director for six Midwestern states, addressed the letter to officials in both states and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will have the final say in the matter. While the Army Corps already has issued the project a permit, provisions under the Clean Water Act still could grant Illinois the opportunity to weigh in on the matter.
"It's a notification to Illinois of its rights," said Peter Cassell, an EPA spokesman. U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, had written EPA officials requesting such a public hearing.
The Illinois Attorney General's office currently is appealing the quarry's permit granted by the state of Indiana. Illinois officials have objected to the quarry saying it will exacerbate flooding and accelerate the buildup of sand and silt in the Kankakee River. The sediment damages spawning and feeding grounds for fish and other aquatic wildlife and are considered by many to be the river's most serious environmental problem.