Illinois county votes to oppose proposed railroad
Thursday, June 30, 2016
BELVIDERE, ILL.--Boone County, Illinois, has joined six other counties in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin in opposing the proposed Great Lakes Basin Railroad, according to the Rockford Register Star.
The county board's resolution, approved during a special meeting Wednesday, says the proposed line “would cut across prime farmland in Boone County.”
Great Lakes Basin Transportation wants to build a 275-mile railroad line that would begin near Milton, run south around Chicago and connect to La Porte, Indiana. The project would “expedite freight movements across the nation and … provide additional capacity for growing railroad traffic,” according to the company's website.
Boone County joins Wisconsin's Rock County, Indiana's Lake and Porter counties and Illinois counties Grundy, LaSalle and Lee in opposition to the rail line. Three counties in Illinois and one in Indiana along the proposed route have so far taken no action.
Bill Brietsprecher questions Newhouse’s anti-GLB RR position
Email from June 30. Mr. Brietsprecher has circulated numbers anti-GLB RR articles and other submissions
Julie Newhouse & Illinois Farm Bureau recently released a statement on
eminent domain -- it does have some important stuff, BUT do not count on
her or the bureau as meaningful allies.
Boone County Chair Bob Walberg, according to good sources I have, is who
brought Frank Patton's GLBT RR over from Winnebago as proposed earlier.
While some say it is the Sugar River and wetlands that created this move,
this is not true. There is no real difference between wetlands on the
west edge of Winnebago and the east edge of Boone and it is laughable to
state otherwise. I am sourcing this story and will publish if we print an
August Greal Lakes Basin Rail: News & Views.
Julie Newhouse is tight with Walberg -- she has repeatedely insisted
directly to me that Walberg is against GLBT! That is a lie, she knows it,
and you know it too. Walberg, at advise from his attorney, abstained from
voting -- but he jacked the resolution around for many weeks and even
tried to prevent Toria Funderberg from speaking last night.
I met Walberg in April and it was clear to me he was going to do what he
could to promote GLBT. The only reason his attorney would tell him to
abstain from voting on anything is because he has a serious conflict of
interest which potentially would make it criminal (Remember, he invited
GLBT to Boone and said he could get the county to approve).
Walberg and the Newhouse families own lots of land and will make fortunes
selling out to Patton at a premium (probably MORE than $20,000 per acre),
which would help GLBT buy the rest of the property for minimal market
value -- probably no more than $5,000 per acre.
Julie Newhouse is not on our side and, like Walberg, will play a game to
appear to be listening to us while undermining our work. The Farm Bureau
directly told me in April that they would take no stand on GLBT and would
support it under certain conditions.
I have seen people promoting a recent eminent domain article by the Farm
Bureau -- it is not actually helpful and it will be a mistake to think
that they will do anything meaningful to stop GLBT. Newhouse is a board
member and there is too much money to make selling less-powerful people
If we do not stand together, GLBT will be built, not to reroute 25% of
Chicago's through rail freight, but to get the most hazardous and
dangerous carloads out of Chicago Metro and through YOUR community. This
will also allow the rest of the rail & oil industry to massively increase
Currently, no Class 1 carrier will admit this -- they cannot, because if
there was a rail accident in Chicago Metro, they would be held responsible
for shipping hazardous materials through a corridor they knew and
acknowledged is unsafe and dangerous to tens-of-thousands.
If GLBT is built, they may start routing crude along Patton's line and
will have no choice if that is what the crude oil shippers demand. If
GLBT develops tank farms and a refinery in the excessive 25 square mile
rail port by Kankakee, all crude coming to that would have to come through
your community as well.
Do not count on the Farm Bureau!
By Adam Poulisse
Posted Jun. 29, 2016 at 10:32 PM
BELVIDERE — Eleven of 12 Boone County Board members tonight approved a resolution that states the community's opposition to the proposed Great Lakes Basin Railroad.
Board Chairman Bob Walberg abstained.
After the meeting, Boone County Board member Cathy Ward posted on her Facebook page:
"Finally. It took months to get our board to approve this resolution, but thanks to all of you who stood your ground for all of us. It helps a lot to have people come to our meetings. You do make a difference."
The one-page resolution states that the $8 billion, 275-mile rail line slated to cut through Boone and several other counties in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana would "cut across prime farmland in Boone County." The railroad route was proposed to provide quicker freight rail surface and bypass Chicago.
"Farmland preservation is the focal point of the Boone County Comprehensive Plan, which includes strategies and goals to protect nonrenewable farmland and natural resources ..." the resolution reads.
The resolution will be sent to the U.S. Transportation Board along with a three-page letter from the county, which outlines objections to the project in such areas as land loss, safety, water quality, geology and soils, noise and insurance costs. The letter was approved during a County Board meeting May 18.
Ward said the resolution was crafted because "the state's attorney told us it is a more formal letter of opposition."
With the resolution, Boone County has followed suit with LaSalle County, Illinois, and Lake County, Indiana, two other potentially affected communities that have drafted resolutions.
Rock County Board last month also approved an official resolution stating the 200-foot wide rail corridor would remove 570 acres of prime farmland, and would result in a $608,615 annual loss of agricultural production.
Staff writer Chris Green contributed to this report.
Would the vote have been 11-0-1 without the huge crowd?
TRAIN TALKS - 11 of the 12 Boone County Board members voted tonight (Wednesday) to send a resolution to the feds saying we OPPOSE the proprosed freight train in our county. Chair Bob Walberg abstained. Boone County resident Toria Funderberg read a detailed statement of why this train is a bad idea for our county and suggested strongly that board members who have supported the train or have tried to stop discussion to this resolution should resign from the board. The board roo...m was full. Walberg tried to stop Toria's statement, but the crowd urged her on and she received loud applause after her strong statement. Finally. It took months to get our board to approve this resolution or even be allowed to discuss it, but thanks to all of you who stood your ground for all of us. It helps a lot to have people come to our meetings. You do make a difference.