Despite protest, Utica approves sand mine

Ali Braboy, IV Leader Opinion Editor

Ever heard of fracking? It’s a process of drilling land to inject liquid into the earth to release natural gases.

Some claim the process hurts nearby water supplies and the environment around the work.

However, on Feb. 4, the Utica Board of Trustees voted 5-2 to allow sand mining company Aramoni LLW of Oak Brook to start fracking in Utica.

This vote came in the sixth and final night of discussing the issue, and the trustees allowed no public comments to be made.

Village trustees James Schrader and Matt Jereb voted no, while trustees Jeff Schweickert, Kevin Stewart, Joe Bernadoni, Ron Pawlak, and Mayor Gloria Alvarado voted yes.

Before the vote, one trustee, Joe Bernadoni, stated that he does not think the new sand mine company will hurt tourism for Utica.

The topic was a controversial one, and involved many aspects that will affect Utica, such as new jobs, health concerns for citizens, tourism to Starved Rock, and money coming into the township from Aramoni.

The company signed to give $50,000 per quarter of land used for the first two years.

After that time period, the company will pay Utica 20 cents per ton of sand extracted; the village will never receive less than $25,000 a year from the company, no matter how much sand is removed.

Ashley Williams, a student at IVCC and advocate against fracking, comments that “the Utica Board of Trustees’ vote was illegal and immoral.

“They must be held accountable for this deplorable decision that will not only decimate the health of the community, but also communities throughout Illinois and the world at large,” she said, “because our pollutants will continue to be found in the bellies of stillborn calves and in the disrupted hormones and mutated genes of current and future generations left in the fracking wake.”