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Illinois Legislator Tries to Stop Indiana Quarry

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) requested a stay of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's (IDEM) water permit that was issued for the Singleton Stone Quarry, Eagle Creek Township, Ind., until more public input is gathered on the quarry's impact on the Kankakee River basin in Illinois, according to the Chicago Tribune. The quarry is owned by Rieth-Riley.

In a letter to the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication, Kelly referenced a trip on the Kankakee River she took where the impact of sand and sediment from Indiana has changed the river in Illinois. She said those changes will only be worsened by the discharge from the quarry. She said the two states and federal government need to work together on the matter.

The IDEM permit takes effect Sept. 29 unless there's a legal or public challenge. "The time has come for more bi-state (and federal) cooperation and coordination to better identify the needs and address the concerns of residents who on both sides of the state line who live near, work near, depend on or simply enjoy life along the Kankakee River Basin," Kelly wrote.

IDEM issued the Section 401 Water Quality Certification permit allowing the project to proceed. The issuance came after a request by U.S. Fish and Wildlife in August to deny the permit and a request by State Sen. Rick Niemeyer (R-Lowell) to IDEM to conduct a public hearing prior to any decision.

Kelly said she is concerned about the issuance of the permit and the timing of it.

"I'm also extremely concerned with the direct environmental and commercial impact on the Illinois side of the river. We are currently examining all avenues available to challenge the permit," Kelly said.

Niemeyer said he was happy to see Illinois move forward with its concerns. He said he made numerous calls to IDEM last week seeking a public hearing but did not get a timely call back from the office. "I am not happy at all with the procedure," Niemeyer said, adding he expected a call back prior to the department's decision regardless whether that decision was to honor his request for a public hearing or not. "I expect that courtesy."

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources previously issued its operational permit, which took effect June 30.