Proposed railway would cause problems for Camp Shaw
- Robert Themer
For the 71st summer, 4-H members and others will be enjoying outings at Camp Shaw-wa-nas-see on Rock Creek, adjacent to Kankakee River State Park.
It's just one facility to grow from a campaign launched in 1945 to establish youth camps in memory of those who served in World War II.
Now, the proposal by Great Lakes Basin Transportation to build a railroad loop around the Chicago metropolitan area would run freight trains "about every 20 minutes right next to Camp Shaw," Greg LaPlante, the camp's executive director, told the Kankakee River Round Table on Friday.
"That would be devastating to Camp Shaw," he said. "The Rock Creek watershed would be particularly vulnerable to spills. ... We hear a lot about oil trains."
Chad Miller, manager of the Kankakee County Farm Bureau, repeated the organization's opposition to the project, which would claim 16,000 acres of Kankakee County farmland — about 1,000 acres for rail line and utility right-of-way and 15,000 acres for a switching and maintenance yard between Manteno and Grant Park.
Miller emphasized concerns about economic impact in reducing farm income and its impact through the community, plus direct loss of farm jobs, impact on local road patterns and drainage systems and potential spills from hazardous materials handing.
"A big sticking point for our organization is that eminent domain could be used for private gain," he said.
"My hope is that one morning, we will wake up and it will be off the drawing board, like the Illiana expressway."
Comment period extended
The U.S. Transportation Board's office of environmental analysis has extended the comment period on the Great Lakes Basin Transportation's proposal until July 15. It had been set to end Wednesday.
The office also announced that no further extension will be granted and that comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted.
Comments may be sent electronically on the board's here. Refer to Docket No. FD 35952 in all correspondence, including e-filings.
Project-specific information can be found on the board's website at stb.dot.gov under "Environmental Matters," then click on the "Key Cases" button in the drop down menu and then select "Great Lakes Basin."
For additional information, visit the board-sponsored project website at GreatLakesBasinRailEIS.com