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e - P R A I R I E    F L Y E R    Sept/Oct 2000

newsletter of the Sierra Club Prairie Group



Prairie Group General Meetings:
Sept - Coal mine
Oct - Allerton land auction

Sept 27 Special Meeting - Shawnee slide show

Coal mine article
Allerton land auction article

Residents oppose dairy plan
Electric generator to catch the wind
Southern Illinois Fall Outing
November Auction and Sierra Calendars
Prairie Group ExComm Elections
Prairie Group Listserv

"Asphalt Nation" author at U of I Sept 11-16
Grand Prairie Friends
Heartland Pathways
Champaign County Greens
Critical Mass Bike Rides
Green Radio
Voter Registration thru Oct. 10 for Nov. election


Prairie Group General Meetings
Illinois Disciples Foundation, corner of Wright and Springfield,

7:30 PM, Wednesday, September 13

Marc Miller, of Prairie Rivers Network, will talk about a new coal mine
proposed for Vermilion County. [For more info, see coal mine article

7:30 PM, Wednesday, October 11

University of Illinois professor Bruce Hannon will discuss the upcoming
auction of land adjoining Allerton Park, and the opportunity this
for the State of Illinois to restore over a thousand acres of grassland
habitat. [For more info, see Allerton article below.]

Special Meeting:
Wed Sept 27 - Shawnee slide show
7 PM, University Y, 1001 S. Wright, Champaign

Douglas Chien with the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club will present
slide show "Wilderness in the Shawnee National Forest."  Sierra Club
other environmental groups are organizing citizens across the state to
Congress to pass legislation creating three new Southern Illinois
areas totaling 12,727 acres in the Shawnee National Forest.


Class A stream, drinking water, endangered species threatened by coal

by Marc Miller, Watershed Organizer, Prairie Rivers Network

A quiz for the readers...Would a reasonable person:

...allow a heavy industry to locate along the banks of a high quality
noted by experts as one of the top ten aquatic ecosystems in Illinois?
...locate the industry less than a half mile from a drinking water
one already impaired by the pollutants the heavy industry would add to
drinking water?
...allow a new source of pollution that may impact three endangered
and one threatened species, and threaten the health of other aquatic
and overall water quality?
...allow increased pollution to a stream without first following the
law and
regulations protecting water quality, disregarding laws requiring
species, socio-economic, and environmental impact assessments before
are issues?
...ignore the rights of area residents and fast-track the permitting

If you passed, you might be interested to know that many decision
from the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Minerals Office and
Illinois EPA miserably failed this test.  The scenario involves an
underground coal mine, and it is a real and present danger to the
Vermilion River of the Wabash watershed (Vermilion County).

At a public hearing held on July 12th, over 200 local residents voiced
opposition to the proposed mine, stating that the mine would severely
degrade the Little Vermilion River and impact peoples homes and
immediately adjacent to the mine.  The Illinois Department of Natural
Resources Office of Mines and Minerals is currently considering
permission to Black Beauty to begin blasting and mining activities at

The Office of Mines and Minerals failed to do an assessment of
impacts, contrary to requirements of state and federal law.  Prairie
Network and local residents are challenging the mining permit .

The Governor is looking into this matter at our request, according to
Moore, Executive Director of Prairie Rivers Network, a statewide river
conservation group based in Champaign.  Mistakes were clearly made by
Office of Mines and Minerals and we hope IDNR and the Governor will
those mistakes.

The Office of Mines and Minerals also failed to recognize that the
Vermilion River is listed on the state Natural Areas Inventory site.
further failed to notice that three state endangered species depend on
habitat provided by the Little Vermilion River.  In addition it did not
recognize potential impacts to the town of Georgetown's water supply
and the
Carl Fliermans River Nature Preserve, which are immediately downstream.

Last year the Illinois Department of Natural Resources denied
permission for
the town of Georgetown to enlarge a reservoir on the same site as the
proposed mine, because of its potential  harm to the river.  Now it may
allow Black Beauty and Peabody Coal to do even greater harm.

Illinois EPA is currently reviewing Black Beauty's application for a
pollution permit. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Community
has given a $700,000 grant to Black Beauty to support their operations
Vermilion County -- raising questions as to whether one agency can
review a permit application from a company which has already received
such a
large grant from another state agency. Prairie Rivers Network and
Citizens for a Quality Environment are also reviewing Black Beauty's

What can you do?

Attend a public hearing on the mine's water pollution permit, scheduled
the IEPA at 5:00 PM, September 27th at the Georgetown-Ridge Farm High
School, 500 W. Mulberry Street, Georgetown.  Tell agency officials you
them to reject the permits and protect the Little Vermilion.

Write to the Governors office, Illinois EPA, Illinois DNR, and the
Preserves Commission requesting that they deny the permits for Black
Coal.  Let them know your disappointment in the shoddy process the
have followed and your concerns about the safety of the Little
River.  Their addresses:

Gov. George Ryan
207 Statehouse
Springfield, IL  62706

Illinois EPA
PO Box 19276
Springfield, IL 62794

Illinois DNR
524 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL  62701

Nature Preserves Commission
524 S. Second Street
Springfield, IL  62701

For more info: Marc Miller <>, Prairie Rivers
Network, Champaign, 217-344-2371.


Allerton  Park - Art Institute Land Auction

With the proposed Tallgrass Project on hold, another rare opportunity
habitat restoration will happen on November 29th, when  the Art
Institute of
Chicago is going to auction  off its extensive gifts of farm land given
them by Robert Allerton  in the late 1930's.

Conservationists  see this as a one-time chance to greatly extend and
protect the Park from suburban sprawl. Letters are needed to Governor
urging that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), either
before the auction or at the auction, buy this property and add it to
Allerton Park.

Reasons why the IDNR should buy the land next to Allerton Park:

Protects 1.5 miles of the Sangamon River upstream from Allerton Park
is habitat for 36 fish species and 21 mussels).

Connects Allerton Park with two other parcels owned by the University
Illinois.  (One parcel is 158 acres of floodplain forest along the
River and the other is a 242 acre farm.)

Protects the largest great blue heron rookery in East Central Illinois
nests in 2000).

Protects the scenic gateway to Allerton Park from suburban sprawl.

Doubles the size of Allerton Park (from 1,500 to 3,000 acres).

Preserves a 285 acre block of forest along the Sangamon River to
benefit 21
area sensitive woodland birds known from the area.

Provides the opportunity to restore 1000 acres of grassland habitat
bird populations have shown the steepest most consistent declines of
North American birds over the last 20 years)

Expands and protects habitat for 5 state listed species.

This proposal is consistent with the priorities and goals (to restore
ecosystems, improve water quality, enhance wildlife habitat, provide
recreational opportunities, and enhance the quality of life for
citizens) set forth by the...

 Illinois Department of Natural Resources
 Illinois Endangered Species Board
 Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
 Illinois Conservation Congress
 Heart of the Sangamon River Partnership's Watershed Plan
 Open Land Trust Fund
 Natural Areas Preservation Act
 Smart Growth Task Force

Please send a letter to:

 Governor George H. Ryan
 207 Statehouse, Suite 16-100
 Springfield, IL 62706

 ...with a copy to:

 Director Brent Manning
 Illinois Department of Natural Resources
 Lincoln Tower Plaza
 524 S. Second St.
 Springfield, IL 62701


Residents oppose dairy plan

News-Gazette, Saturday, Aug 26, 2000

BELLFLOWER ­ University of Illinois officials say a [3,500-head] dairy
planned for the Bellflower area [between Champaign and Bloomington]
will set
standards for the industry and give the local economy a boost. But
who live near the site air a long list of financial, environmental and
infrastructure concerns...

Foes of large dairy farm organize
(Bloomington) Pantagraph, Wednesday, September 6, 2000

Bellflower residents fight dairy farm
Peoria Journal Star, September 6, 2000

For more info: David Adamson, 309-722-3788; Families Against Rural


Electric generator to catch the wind

News-Gazette, Friday, Aug 18, 2000

CHAMPAIGN ­ As many local golfers have noted, the wind off the prairie
central Illinois can be both strong and consistent. NEG Micon USA
thinks the
wind blows swiftly enough to install a wind turbine, up to 288 feet
tall to
the tip of its blade, just west of Champaign. It would be the first
wind turbine used to generate electric power
in Illinois...

For more info:


Southern Illinois Fall Outing

A weekend camping/hiking trip to Southern Illinois is being organized
Jack and Sally Paxton. This should be a great time to view fall foliage
in a
spectacular, unglaciated area of Illinois, with visits to the highest
waterfall in the state, and Illinois' own "Grand Canyon." To arrange
date and other details, contact Jack by October 7 at 217-367-6554 or


November Auction and Sierra Calendars

Donations and volunteers are needed for the annual Prairie Group
auction in November. Combine rides, guided canoe and hiking trips, as
as many great items from members and area businesses have been
highlights of
past auctions. Also, Sierra Club 2001 calendars will soon be available.

These are the main fundraisers for the Prairie Group, so please make a
donation or volunteer to help with the auction or calendar sales by
contacting Ted Tourlentes at 217-344-0867, <>.


Prairie Group ExComm Elections

Ballots for the Prairie Group Executive Committee (ExComm) will be
in the November/December newsletter, so please consider volunteering to
lead the Prairie Group over the next two years. The ExComm plans local
Sierra Club meetings, this newsletter, outings, and organizing for
environmental issues in East-Central Illinois.Contact Jim Beauchamp
<>, 217-344-3307.


Prairie Group Listserv

To receive legislative and local notices/alerts, subscribe to the
Group listserv by sending a message to: LISTSERV@LISTS.SIERRACLUB.ORG

Include this one-line command in the message body:
SUBSCRIBE  IL-PRAIRIE-ALERTS  Yourfirstname  Yourlastname

= = = = = = = = = =

 (The following events are not sponsored by the Sierra Club Prairie
but are listed as a service to our members.)

Jane Holtz Kay will be In-Residence at Unit One/Allen Hall September

Her opening program is Monday, September 11 at 9pm in the South Rec
of Allen Hall, 1005 W. Gregory, Urbana. The schedule for her programs
the rest of the week will be available on the website:

All programs are open to the public. Call 217-333-8351 for more

Jane Holtz Kay is architecture and planning critic for The Nation and
author of "Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America and How
Can Take it Back", "Preserving New England" and "Lost Boston". She has
written for Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Planning, The Boston
Globe, The New York Times, Preservation and Sierra. She is currently
writing a new book, "Last Chance Landscape".

A frequent speaker, Kay has lectured across the country on urban
sprawl, transportation, preservation and environmental issues. Her
illustrated lectures include "Last-Chance Landscape: Sprawl, the
Automobile and Community Preservation;" "Boston: Lost and Living," and
"Asphalt Nation: the Paving and De-Paving of America."


Online reviews of "Asphalt Nation"


Grand Prairie Friends

Every September Thursday evening from 6-8pm: maintenance at Windsor
Prairie. For more information, contact Ruth Green at Seed collecting workdays and Fall burn
begin in September. For more information, contact Paul Tessene at


Heartland Pathways

To help out with seed collecting, trail maintenance, and Fall burn
contact Dave Monk <>, 217-351-1911.

October 15
3rd annual Rattlesnake Master 5K and 10K race and 5K walk

Starts 9 AM at Orchard Downs Community Center (approx. 1/4-mile South
of the
corner of Florida and Race) and goes around Meadowbrook Park, in
Fundraiser for Heartland Pathways. For more info: Dave Monk
<>, 217-351-1911.


Champaign County Greens

Tues., Sept. 19, 8 p.m.--Green Tea/Teach-In at the Green Street
on Green Street in Campustown. Ongoing discussion of what makes
the Green movement Green, and how to make a difference
locally. Readings selected from E.F. Schumacher's "Small is Beautiful"
(copies available at the coffeehouse after Sept. 5). Joan
( will be moderating.

Tues. Oct. 3. Prairie Greens/Green Party of East Central Illinois,
regular monthly meeting. 7 p.m., Red Herring Restaurant,
1209 W. Oregon, Urbana. For more info see or
call 217-328-7410.


Critical Mass Bike Rides

Champaign-Urbana Critical Mass bike rides meet on every last friday of
month at 5pm at Green and Wright, Urbana (by the Alma Mater), to
bicycling and clean transportation.


Green Radio

NPR's Living On Earth can be heard at 5:00 PM each Saturday on WILL-AM

The Prairie Monk can be heard at 11:00 AM each Sunday on WEFT-FM 90.1.


Voter Registration thru Oct. 10 for Nov. election

For more info:

Champaign County League of Women Voters

Champaign County Clerk (217)-384-3720

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