Sierran Masthead

Refuge Still Faces a Fight

Letters and petitions in support of the proposed Grand Kankakee Marsh National Wildlife Refuge outnumber those from opponents nearly 10 to 1, but vocal objectors fueled by misinformation continue their fight.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports a large positive response to its 30,000-acre refuge proposal for the Kankakee River in Indiana and Illinois. In particular, most letters from citizens living in the Kankakee River watershed favor the refuge.

Opponents claim that property rights would be jeopardized and that land needed for the refuge would be condemned. According to the Service, however, land would be acquired from willing sellers only. Landowners would retain all their rights, and no restrictions would be imposed on private land.

Rep. Steve Buyer, whose district is partially in the watershed, has added a rider to an Interior Appropriations bill forbidding funding for the proposal. The bill passed and next goes to a conference committee with the Senate bill. Please contact your U.S. Representative and Senators and ask that the Buyer language be removed from the conference report on Interior Appropriations.

Rep. Buyer also has attempted to postpone the refuge decision until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes a flooding study, which would take at least three years. The flooding study and the refuge proposal are independent projects that should proceed on their own.

Susan Thomas, Director of the Chapter's Wetlands Project, has written to Rep. Buyer to address the "misconceptions and inaccuracies that continue to confuse this important environmental issue."

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[09/14/02]efp

Fall 1998