Everyone who lives near a sand mine in La Salle County, where several sand mines are located, including one of U.S. Silica's, complains about noises from machinery, blasting, and worst of all, silica dust, which invades homes, cars and nearby properties, not to mention your lungs.
That's according to Kevin Caulfield a reporter for the News Tribune, which covers north central Illinois. Caulfield, who is pro-sand mine, has been covering the sand mines in La Salle County for eight years. "I've even seen it with my own eyes," says Caulfield, who supports sand mines. "These are dirty operations that make life difficult for those living nearby."
Sand mines don't try to be dirty. They work hard to maintain clean operations, says Caulfield. But the nature of sand makes that nearly impossible.
"I've found in talking to mining operators that it is their intention to do everything possible to be good neighbors, and they certainly try," says Caulfield. "But frankly, we're talking about a mine. No one wants to live next to them and no one will buy residential property next to one."
A thousand people in La Salle County signed a petition opposing a new sand mine proposed for next to Starved Rock State Park.
"The reason there are so many protesters is because everyone knows someone who has lived next to a mine," says Caulfield.
Caulfield supports sand mines, as long as they're in rural areas. To have one next to a densely populated area, he says, "sounds insane."