We heard today that the IEPA has approved the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the Mississippi Sand mine. Please see the text of our joint statement below:
JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE SIERRA CLUB, PRAIRIE RIVERS NETWORK, AND OPENLANDS ON MINING DISCHARGE PERMIT ADJACENT TO STARVED ROCK STATE PARK
On January 29, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) issued NPDES Permit No. ILG840203 granting Mississippi Sand, LLC permission to discharge wastewater from its planned mining operation adjacent to Starved Rock State Park. The permit will allow Mississippi Sand to discharge up to 5.1 million gallons per day of stormwater and pumpage from the mine pit into a tributary of Horseshoe Creek. Horseshoe Creek flows from the mine site into Starved Rock State Park. We are deeply disappointed by IEPA’s decision. In particular, IEPA’s granting the permit without holding a public hearing to listen and to respond directly to numerous public concerns about the mining operation’s environmental and economic impacts is simply inadequate. By any standard, Starved Rock State Park is emblematic of Illinois tourism and is one of premiere state parks in Illinois. This decision enables the degradation of the irreplaceable natural and recreational value of the park.