LaSalle County, Ill., officials voted to grant Mississippi Sand LLC permission to operate a sand mine on a stretch of farmland immediately east of Starved Rock State Park, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Tensions were reported to be high at the Ottawa Knights of Columbus Hall, where the meeting was held to accommodate a large crowd. The board of officials voted 20-6 on a proposal that has divided the community.
A deciding factor appeared to be the 39 jobs Mississippi Sand has promised will come with the sand mine. The sand that will be mined will be used by gas and oil drilling companies in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
Union members packed the meeting room in work boots and overalls. “We hope to be able to hire many of the ladies and gentlemen (here) who have supported us,” said Tony Giordano, president of Mississippi Sand.
The proposal still needs the approval of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.