Illinois – The Battleground for Hydraulic Fracturing

Fracking Southern Illinois: Faithful Opposition from Tim Frakes on Vimeo.

Can You Help Protect Illinois from Hydraulic Fracturing?
Illinois is the new battleground for hydraulic fracturing, the practice of injecting millions of gallons of  liquid (usually a mixture of water, sand, and highly toxic carcinogenic i) into the ground at high pressures to fracture the rock and force out natural gas. Despite months of organizing for a moratorium, the Illinois senate approved regulations for hydraulic fracturing on May 31 that then were signed and made law by Governor Quinn on June 17, 2013.

Rules Just Released
On Friday, November 15th, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) released their first draft of the rules that will regulate hydraulic fracturing here in Illinois. This started a 45-day public comment process that ends January 3, 2014. Written in accordance with the regulatory bill passed in June, the rules endanger the health and safety of Illinois citizens and create new loopholes that will only further devastate the environment.

Even environmental groups that supported and co-wrote the regulatory bill, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), say the rules are unacceptable. According to the current draft, oil and gas companies can leave fracking wastewater in open-air pits throughout the duration of the fracking operation. Wastewater stored in this way is known to be dangerous (and potentially radioactive) and has been linked to groundwater contamination. This is just one example of how IDNR is compromising the health and safety of Illinois citizens in favor of short-term corporate profits.

Public Comments Accepted Until January 3, 2014
Your comments can call out very real health and environmental concerns associated with these new rules.  They also can “bury the DNR” in comments with the goal of slowing down the process of fast-tracking the rules into law and buying additional time to explore a potential moratorium with the Illinois legislature.  As Sandra Steingraber explained during her keynote address at this year’s Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago’s event, this is the process that proved to be effective in obtaining a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York State.

Read the rules and TAKE ACTION by providing both written comments and attending the hearing(s).  Note – you will be required to comment on specific sections of the rules.  Remember, comments will be accepted until January 3, 2013.

Need help with comments? 
Visit  Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment (SAFE) website for daily suggestions.

Public Hearings
IDNR is holding its first public hearing in Chicago on these rules, and we need to show up in full force.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 6:30pm-8:30pm (Doors open at 5:30pm)
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
726 S. Halsted Street, Student Center East, Room 302
Chicago, IL 60607
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The location and times of other hearings that will be held throughout Illinois can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ website: Moving from coal to natural gas / hydraulic fracturing is not the way to go.  We can do better.

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