* A group opposing fracking will hold a rally and a press conference today. From this morning’s press release…
NY has a moratorium on fracking. Don’t the people of IL deserve the same?
Press conference in the state capital rotunda at 1:30.
High volume, high pressure, horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” threatens not only the health of Illinois residents, but important Illinois industries such as tourism and farming. SB1418/ HB3086 would set up an investigative task force of scientific experts and stakeholders to examine the risks to local economies, tourism, public health, and the environment — before fracking can proceed.
A Cornell study has found that cumulatively, fracking activities are a major threat to tourism. Southern Illinois, targeted for hydraulic fracturing, is currently a tourist destination for hunters, hikers, wine trail enthusiasts, and those interested in the newly-blossoming microbrewery industry. Introducing fracking to this already economically disadvantaged area of the state will be devastating to local economies.
The risk of economic fallout from fracking in the form of damage to tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, and property values is NOT outweighed by job creation for Illinois residents. Evidence indicates that the industry relies mostly on out-of-state workers. What local employment does exist is primarily in part-time, short-term, or low-paying jobs; the economic gain here is nominal compared to the costs of damage.
In addition, various health organizations are seeing the impacts of fracking on public health. The American Nurses Association and American Public Health Association both call for a moratorium on fracking. In October 2012, the American Public Health Association issued a policy statement saying, “The public health perspective [on fracking] has been inadequately represented in policy.”
The USEPA is also conducting a major nationwide study to determine whether fracking can be done safely and, if so, how. Illinois should impose a two-year moratorium on fracking, and wait for the results of these studies before determining how best to proceed.
* Last week, the same group sent out this press release…
On March 6 a federal judge lifted a 17-year-old order that blocked oil and gas drilling in the Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest. Richard Blume-Weaver, a planning and resources staff officer at the National Forest, confirmed that there has been interest in oil & gas leasing. Ultimate approval will rest with the federal Bureau of Land Management.
SAFE (Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment) takes a strong stand against drilling in the National Forest and is outraged by the oil and gas industry’s latest maneuver.
I asked whether this meant that the group ought to pursue regulations, since a moratorium wouldn’t appear to stop this drilling. The reply…
Actually, we are certain that fracking is not on its way. Even if the industry bill passes we’ll still be pushing for a moratorium. I’m sure you think that’s an impossible task. We most certainly don’t. NY has extended theirs due to 3 very good studies being done. Shouldn’t IL wait for those studies, too?
Opening the door to fracking in the Shawnee now gives us leverage on a national stage, btw. It was a big mistake on industry’s part to drop that bomb right now. It just gives SAFE more support in S. IL.
Actually, only the lower house in New York’s legislature extended the ban. The Senate is not expected to extend it.
I followed up again and was told this…
Trust me—it’s not coming. What’s going to happen if equipment get’s moved in—trucks start rolling?
I’ve already had lots of people tell me—we’ll do whatever it takes to stop them. (And, so will I. I’m 66 and will be right there with everyone on the front lines.) SAFE has a Direct Action point person who works with other Direct Action groups. She’ll be coordinating, And, Rising Tide will be here, for sure. They’re already helping us out.
It’ll get really messy—industry will have a hard time winning that. You just can’t throw enough money around to dampen the human spirit. You can pass that last quote around to any industry guys.
* And that same group sent out a press release severals days ago about its upcoming anti-fracking protest at the Statehouse which included this background of two scheduled speakers…
Bill Rau, ISU Emeritus Professor and fracking expert, “On the most important issues, the bill (HB2615) remains silent or gives the store away. The gas industry got just about everything they wanted.
Annette McMichael, Leader in IPA and SAFE, and Southern Illinois landowner “There is no local control in the industry bill. They can turn Southern IL into an industrial wasteland and no one can stop them.”
* Both of these folks have been quoted quite in a bit in the media. For example…
About a dozen members of the Illinois People’s Action attended Tuesday’s board meeting wearing anti-fracking stickers.
Spokesman Bill Rau said the group ideally wants fracking banned in Illinois but doesn’t want the counties to lose their local zoning control.
The bio at the bottom of a recent Rau op-ed…
Rau, Bloomington, is a professor emeritus of industrial sociology at Illinois State University.
From Wikipedia’s definition of “industrial sociology”…
Industrial sociology, until recently a crucial research area within the field of sociology of work, examines “the direction and implications of trends in technological change, globalization, labour markets, work organization, managerial practices and employment relations to the extent to which these trends are intimately related to changing patterns of inequality in modern societies and to the changing experiences of individuals and families the ways in which workers challenge, resist and make their own contributions to the patterning of work and shaping of work institutions.”[
* On to Annette McMichael…
It’s not time for anybody to declare victory yet, according to an anti-fracking activist. After representatives of industry, labor, and environmental interests joined lawmakers to celebrate the introduction of a bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing in Illinois, Annette McMichael was ready to rain on the parade. McMichael is part of SAFE – Southern Illinoisans against Fracturing Our Environment. She lives in Monticello but hopes to retire to Jackson County, where she owns land.
McMichael is actually a professional PR person. From her Green Media Service website…
Annette has more than 15 years of experience in planning and implementing advertising campaigns. For seven years she served as the marketing director for a mid-sized business. In this position she purchased about $500,000 of advertising each year, using a variety of media. During that time the business grew from a staff of 15 to over 100 and revenue exploded. But it was a struggle getting there. Whether your annual ad budget is $25,000, $250,000, or more, she’s probably tackled the same challenges that you’re now facing. So she understands what’s important to you.
She has also spent many years working within the media industry. She served as an Account Representative for both radio and television, and as a Sales Manager in broadcast and cable television. This background gives her the advantage of understanding media organizations, especially in central Illinois, from the inside.
* There’s absolutely nothing wrong or untoward about any of this. Self-taught activists have been crucial to many successful American movements throughout history.
But Professor Rau is no fracking scientist, even though you’d most certainly get that impression from his press release bio. And McMichael is apparently a professional media spokesperson.