Southern Illinois Fracking Moratorium
Nov 27, 2012 04:52PM
By Dr. Lora Chamberlain
The natural gas industry wants to frack in Illinois, and Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment (SAFE), is fighting back. Fracking is the recognized term for induced hydraulic fracturing, also called high-volume, high-pressure, horizontal hydro-fracking. Many Northern Illinois residents are unaware that fracking may soon be coming to the state or that they have an opportunity to get involved.
Fracking is an extremely dangerous method of natural gas extraction. In other U.S. states that allow fracking, farm wells and local aquifers are becoming poisoned with benzene and methane from fracking to the extent that, in some cases, residents can light their tap water on fire. Fracking will use millions of gallons of precious fresh water in a drought-stricken state.
Simply put, to fracture rock, workers mix water with sand, possibly from Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park, add hundreds of toxic chemicals, and then blast the mixture down wells up to a mile deep and 10 miles long to fracture the Albany shale and recover small natural gas deposits. Estimates are that 50 percent of this noxious water stew could flash back up the well as a radioactive, toxic mess. Fracking also leads to an uncontrolled release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, adding to global warming, and has been linked to regional earthquake activity.
In 2012, the natural gas industry sent agents across Southern Illinois to obtain leases for fracking from farmers and landowners, and permits for fracking are waiting on desks at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) for approval. Illinois has no regulations on fracking at the state level and the practice has been exempted from major federal environmental laws since 2005.
Individuals are urged to call their state representatives and senators to ask them to co-sponsor and vote for bill SB 3280 with the Moratorium on Fracking and an investigative task force. The capital switchboard, 217-782-2000, can help connect callers with the right offices. Also call Governor Quinn at 312-814-2121 and 217-782-0244 and ask him to support the Moratorium on Fracking.