The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
A disturbing new video of poisoned water, leaking oil rigs, and lax enforcement at Illinois oil wells highlights why proposed fracking regulation won't protect the state's environment or people. The Greenpeace interview with a southern Illinois native and former oil worker shows a fracking test well in a neglected part of the state where weak enforcement at existing wells is already endangering the public.
Illinois' new fracking law provides funding for the Office of Mines and Minerals (OMM) to hire new staff. But, that would only be a solution if lack of staffing were the primary problem. Gov. Quinn (D-IL) has refused to clean house and restructure an agency notoriously cozy with industry.
The rules proposed for fracking are a sign the agency intends to continue the same old culture of weak enforcement that allows companies to pay meaningless fines while continuing to operate. Proposed fines from $50 to a few thousand dollars are pocket change, and even those can be waived at the agency's discretion. Companies with hundreds of past violations may receive permits for new wells, as we've already seen with OMM's poor oversight of coal mines.
Many local residents understand something that groups headquartered hundreds of miles away who support the fracking law apparently don't. Even if the new law does everything it's designed to do, a fracking boom will still be a major environmental and public health disaster for downstate Illinois. A better funded OMM still can't be relied on to protect Illinois with only weak penalties and an internal culture that views themselves as partners with industry.
Gov. Quinn failed to mention fracking when he listed accomplishments during his State of the State speech today. Just last year he pushed hard for the law and bragged about it's passage. Seven months later, it's a political liability he'd rather ignore. Efforts by the movement to ban fracking, including the MoveOn Fracking Fighter petition, are shifting political realities. And people in potentially impacted areas aren't interested in settling for whatever minor, face-saving improvements to the regulations Gov. Quinn has in the works.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Europe is gearing up for another extreme heat wave that could set all-time records for several European countries.
Micro-Naps for Plants: Flicking the Lights on and off Can Save Energy Without Hurting Indoor Agriculture Harvests
By Kevin M. Folta
A nighttime arrival at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport flies you over the bright pink glow of vegetable production greenhouses. Growing crops under artificial light is gaining momentum, particularly in regions where produce prices can be high during seasons when sunlight is sparse.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) former head of the Office of Air and Radiation who was instrumental in drafting policies that eased climate protection rules and pollution standards is under investigation by a federal watchdog for his dealings with the fossil fuel industry he was supposed to be regulating, according to the New York Times.
It's no secret that the Trump administration has championed fossil fuels and scoffed at renewable energy. But the Trump administration is trying to keep something secret: the climate crisis. That's according to a new analysis from the watchdog group Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) who found that more than a quarter of the references to climate change on .gov websites vanished.
By Adrienne Hollis
Climate change is a threat multiplier. This is a fact I know to be true. I also know that our most vulnerable populations, particularly environmental justice communities — people of color and/or low socioeconomic status — are suffering and will continue to suffer first and worst from the adverse effects of climate change. Case in point? Extreme heat.