Quantcast

Coalition Denounces Legislation That Would Pave Way for Fracking in Illinois

Energy

Americans Against Fracking

Following the introduction of a bill that would, in effect, serve as a road map for introducing hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to the state, 15 Illinois-based and national organizations and individuals—including Illinois People’s Action, Food & Water Watch, Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment (SAFE), 350.org, Breast Cancer Action and Americans Against Fracking advisory board members Mark Ruffalo, Sandra Steingraber and Josh Fox—urged Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly to reconsider the legislation. In a letter to the lawmakers, the groups outlined how HB 2615 would ultimately expose Illinois residents to the widely documented public health, economic and environmental problems associated with fracking.

More than 50 people gathered in Springfield, Illinois today to deliver more than 600 petitions against the fracking bill to Governor Pat Quinn. Grassroots leaders asked the Governor's staff to protect their communities and oppose the bill. Photo by Jessica Fujan

“This bill is anything but a regulation bill,” says Illinois People’s Action (IPA) leader Mary Bechtel. “It’s really a de-regulation bill. It’s full steam ahead for big energy companies to exploit our state for their own profits, and we’re going to fight to protect our air, water, health and farmland. New York Governor Cuomo just extended his state’s moratorium on fracking because the science is still unclear.  Is science different in Illinois?  We need a moratorium here too.” IPA is demanding Quinn kill the bill and work for a ban on fracking.

Public backlash against fracking has escalated in recent years as more than 300 U.S. communities have taken action against the process. States such as New York, New Jersey and Maryland have taken more measured approaches when considering whether to allow the process, including soliciting input from the public and studying health impacts, steps that Illinois policymakers failed to consider when brokering the terms of HB 2615.

“The people of Illinois are no less deserving of protections than those of New York and Maryland, where caution is the responsible way to approach the raft of unstudied health problems related to hydrofracking,” said Americans Against Fracking advisory boardmember Mark Ruffalo. “We need to fight to protect Illinois from the impacts of fracking and the raft of mysterious health problems we see arising in states where caution has been thrown to the wind. We call on the leadership of Governor Quinn and the Illinois legislature to follow New York’s lead and wait to drill after health studies have been done. HB 2615 is rash, irresponsible and shortsighted.”

The groups opposing HB 2615 consider the bill ill timed and inadequate. High volume fracking is not currently occurring in Illinois and organizations signed on to the letter urged lawmakers to keep it that way. The letter points out, however, that even as a regulation bill, HB 2615 is grossly inadequate in that, among other things, it:

  • Fails to fully disclose to the public information about the chemicals used in fracking
  • Allows fracking operations to set up just 500 feet from water wells, homes, churches, schools, hospitals and nursing homes
  • Allows fracking just 300 feet from “the ordinary high water mark of any river, perennial stream, natural or artificial lake, pond or reservoir.”
  • Fails to provide for local control by county government over whether fracking can occur in its jurisdiction
  • Endangers water supplies by only sampling and testing water near drilling sites up to 30 months after drilling and fracking, despite the fact that the risk of underground contamination associated with these activities can persist for years.

“The oil and gas industry is zeroing in on our communities, despite the objections of many concerned citizens and entire communities,” said Vito A. Mastrangelo of SAFE. “SAFE plans to increase the pressure on our elected officials. We intend to ensure that fracking does not come to our communities—not provide a road map to frack them.”

The detrimental effects of fracking are numerous and well documented. Extracting, transporting and burning natural gas all contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and worsen global climate change. In addition to the carbon dioxide emitted from burning natural gas, significant amounts of methane leak as new wells are fracked and as natural gas is transported. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, about 33 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide over 100 years, and about 70 to 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 20 years according to a 2009 study published in the magazine Science. Moreover, more than 1,000 cases of water contamination have been documented near fracking and drilling sites in the U.S.

“Fracking not only pollutes our air and water, it also exacerbates climate change and threatens public health,” said Food & Water Watch midwest region director Emily Carroll. “Illinoisans do not need half measures that open our state to this dangerous process. Governor Quinn and the legislature should take a step back, take a second look at the facts about fracking, and take immediate action to make sure that not a single well is drilled in Illinois.”

As for the public health effects of drilling and fracking, the process has been linked to increased ground level ozone pollution, greater instances of asthma and the discharge of volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. A 2012 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that, when compared to those who live further away, people living within half a mile of fracking operations face significantly higher cancer risks, as well as a greater chance of other health problems connected to pollution.

“Chemicals used in the fracking process include known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors that can leach into wells and aquifers and mix with drinking water in nearby communities as well as far-off cities,” noted Breast Cancer Action policy and campaigns coordinator Annie Sartor.

“A growing body of evidence demonstrates the connection between toxic chemicals used in the fracking process to increased risk of many health harms, including breast cancer. It is the role of our elected leaders to protect us from toxic chemicals that may increase risk of developing disease, and Illinois legislators must put public health first by rejecting HB 2615, instituting an immediate moratorium on fracking and taking steps to ensure that fracking never comes to Illinois,” she concluded.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Artist's conception of solar islands in the open ocean. PNAS

Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less
Marcos Alves / Moment Open / Getty Images

More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week ok the 'emergency' use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?

EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, "that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn't be allowed to spray."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
View of downtown Miami, Florida from Hobie Island on Feb. 2, 2019. Michael Muraz / Flickr

The Democratic candidates for president descended upon Miami for a two-night debate on Wednesday and Thursday. Any candidate hoping to carry the state will have to make the climate crisis central to their campaign, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
A pumpjack in the Permian Basin. blake.thornberry / Flickr

By Sharon Kelly

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Craig K. Chandler

The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.

Read More Show Less
Denis Poroy / Getty Images

By Dan Gray

Processed foods, in their many delicious forms, are an American favorite.

But new research shows that despite increasing evidence on just how unhealthy processed foods are, Americans have continued to eat the products at the same rate.

Read More Show Less

By Sarah Steffen

With a profound understanding of their environmental surroundings, indigenous communities around the world are often cited as being pivotal to tackling climate change.

Read More Show Less