Nature activists ask judge to pause construction of Rockford airport expansion

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Natural Land Institute filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday seeking an injunction against the Chicago Rockford International Airport from building an expansion on the Bell Bowl Prairie.

Advocates say the construction work threatens a small patch of prairie on RFD’s grounds which is home to endangered bee species and rare plants.

“People across the country are no longer just fighting to save an endangered bee, or an endangered plant, or even a whole ecosystem. We are fighting to save us and we are using all of the tools available to us,” said Kerry Leigh, executive director of the Natural Land Institute.

The lawsuit is asking a judge for a temporary pause on the expansion, while activists petition RFD to redesign the expansion project to avoid the area.

“The Bell Bowl Prairie has evolved undisturbed over thousands of years. It is it’s own unique eco-system found nowhere else. You can’t dig it up and plant it somewhere else, it just will not work,” said Steven Hall, co-chair of the Northwest River Valley Sierra Club.

When reached for comment, the airport authority declined, saying it had not yet seen the filing documents.

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