Waltham Township and Utica residents concerned about a proposed sand mine are hosting a public meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, in the Knights of Columbus Hall, 500 Hitt St., Utica.
Organizers said the meeting will include the participation of legal representatives to answer questions about the mine zoning proposal and the ongoing Utica Planning Commission and Village Board hearings set to resume Wednesday, Jan. 15.
Despite nearly 15 hours of official testimony and public comment over several nights, the joint public meeting of the two Utica government bodies was continued Dec. 4 without any formal resolution over the construction of a sand quarry in Waltham Township north of Interstate 80.
Mining companies wishing to open sand mining operations have generated a public controversy within La Salle County after county and local municipalities approved three such operations in recent years.
Nearly pure silica has become valuable material to the nation's growing oil and natural gas drilling industry in the process known as fracking, where sand is mixed with chemically-treated water and forced underground to release previously unreachable fossil fuels in mature wells.
Last year, the Utica board approved a sand mine near the Osage Curves outside its corporate limits northeast of the village.
Organizers of Thursday's meeting said there will be anti-mining petitions available for signing and requests for donations to offset expected legal fees.