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Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016 12:15 am

Letters to the Editor 8/4/16

 

STOP LAND GRAB

Illinois is blessed with top-grade, food-producing soil that only a few places in the world can match. Those places are South Ukraine, sections of Argentina and along China’s Yellow River. We are also blessed with temperatures and rainfall conducive to agriculture.

It is through this prime agriculture area that Great Lakes Basin Transportation LLC (GLB), if granted Federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) consent, would build and manage private toll train tracks and a rail port.

The amount of land that would be eternally altered for the proposed private rail line is estimated at more than 21,349 acres. This includes a 15,056-acre Kankakee County rail port. Can we afford to allow a private group of investors to speculate with no proven need and seize that much land for their private gain?

Not included in that 21,349 acres is the amount of soil destroyed for the 47-plus overpasses: five interstate four-lane expressways, four large rivers, numerous smaller waterways and drainage ditches, 15 state highways, a multitude of county roads and 24 existing railroad lines. GLB would need massive earthen berms and long ramp extensions to achieve a 1-percent grade overpass for high-speed freight trains. The borrow pits dug to provide the additional build up material would destroy even more fertile acres of soil.

GLB plans to take 200-foot easements and in places increase tracks to five and six. As per GLB, they would use the additional 50 feet of the easement to make money leasing for utilities, power lines, pipelines, etc.

GLB, a hypothetical project, is a gigantic fertile land grab seeking federal approval. GLB hasn’t proven a need, but experts believe it is based on speculation to make money transporting raw oil for the wealthy oil industry.

Agriculture is Illinois’ most important industry. It is the cornerstone for the state’s economy. Thanks to the glaciers and prairie grasses, we are blessed with this productive soil which cannot be duplicated or created. There is no way to mitigate the loss when acres are converted to other uses. Development on best land ends in reliance on production on marginal land that requires more chemicals and a greater risk for erosion.

What is the best use of non-replaceable soil? To grow food or to increase wealth for “non-disclosed” private investors? Learn more at http://BlockGLBrailroad.com.

Mary Auchsteatter
Peru



PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH

All the religions teach that thou shall not kill; to conquer hatred by love; to love thy enemy; to forgive; to practice peace, inclusiveness, acceptance and charity. Yet 203 million were killed during the 20th century due to wars, greed, hatred, ego, religious fanaticism and racism by the same people who professed to follow the above religions.

The highest priority for scientific research should be how to motivate people to put into practice the teachings of the religions that they belong to.

Vinod Gupta
Springfield

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