* The anti-frackers are furious at Gov. Pat Quinn for signing the fracking regulatory and taxation bill yesterday. From a press release…
“It is obvious from his signing this bill that the Governor did not do his due diligence on this issue,” said Dr. Lora Chamberlain, spokesperson for the coalition, adding, “Any responsible person after looking at the evidence for serious harm caused by fracking across the nation would have wanted to investigate further to make sure that the regulations, written primarily by the industry, in SB1715, were sufficient to protect Illinois. But Gov. Quinn is acting like a desperate man and his actions will prove to be penny wise and dollar ridiculous. We will see how this plays out here in IL, but it is our prediction that the state will end up paying dearly to clean up the environmental mess from fracking and the resultant health problems. Polluting our precious fresh water permanently for oil will also turn out to be very unwise.”
OK, first of all the regulations were not “written primarily by the industry.” The negotiations were, in reality, based on the environmentalists’ legislative template. The fracking industry cooperated because Speaker Madigan threatened them with a moratorium.
Secondly, the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Counsel and the Illinois Environmental Council all backed the bill. Those groups are made up of “responsible persons.”
With the signing of this bill the Shawnee National Forrest located south of Carbondale will be fracked and tourism in the area will be negatively impacted, many local business might be devastated. Penni Livingston of the Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment stated, “With a stroke of a pen, the Governor may have harmed irreparably the tourism industry in the Shawnee National Forest today.”
The Shawnee is located in parts of Pope, Jackson, Union, Hardin, Alexander, Saline, Gallatin, Johnson, and Massac counties. Current unemployment rate for each county…
* Pope: 8.0 percent
* Jackson: 6.1 Percent
* Union: 9.7 Percent
* Hardin: 9.4 Percent
* Alexander: 8.8 Percent
* Saline: 8.5 Percent
* Gallatin: 8.7 Percent
* Johnson: 9.0 Percent
* Massac: 6.5 Percent
Except for Jackson, which has SIU, and Massac, which has a casino, employment in that region ain’t exactly strong. They’re just not making it on tourism alone.
The coalition is asking the Governor to follow this dangerous technology very closely, and create the investigative task force that is included in SB1715 as soon as possible, so that they can start an independent examination of the many negative effects of fracking. The coalition is asking that the Governor include public hearings in this task force in order to provide a transparent avenue by which the citizens of the state can be heard. Dr. Lora Chamberlain said, “The last thing the Oil and Natural Gas companies want is public participation, but it is quite clear to this coalition that it is the public who is paying attention to the devastation from fracking around the country, and not our legislators or our Governor.”
The demand for public hearings isn’t unreasonable at all. But hearings shouldn’t be turned into circuses. This is serious business, not a way for people to creatively vent.
* Fracking Standards Now Law In Illinois: The director of the Illinois Environmental Council, Jen Walling, says she wishes the state would ban the practice. But she says given that fracking’s already happening in Illinois, her group and other major environmental organizations agreed to the new law. Walling says it sets tough, comprehensive standards drillers must follow. “We don’t allow open pits storage of waste water afterward. This has been a huge problem in other states. Our law requires that all waste water be kept in closed loop tanks. That’s a really big deal.”
* Colleges plan training for gas drilling jobs: Both colleges plan to provide a safety program and other training needed by the industry. Southeastern Illinois College has submitted a custom training certificate program to the state for approval. Rend Lake College plans to establish an associate degree program in oil and natural gas.
* The Shale Boom Has Given America Tons Of Political Leverage In The Middle East: Many have been skeptical of the true extent of the shale revolution’s impact on the U.S. economy, beyond localized effects like lowering mid-continent crude prices and reducing costs for industrial petroleum product manufacturing. But in a new note, Standard and Poor RatingsDirect’s Peter Rigby says it’s actually given the U.S. a tremendous amount of political leverage.
* California Assembly Rejects Fracking Ban: The California assembly vote followed closely on the heels of a comprehensive federal study of water quality near more than 100 natural gas fracking sites in Arkansas. As Environment & Climate News recently reported, the U.S. Geological Survey study found the extensive fracking in Arkansas has not compromised water quality near any of the fracking sites. Lisa Jackson, who led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the first four years of the Obama administration, has repeatedly testified to Congress that EPA has never found a single instance of fracking polluting groundwater.