National forests, which once were the pride of the nation are now being sold away to corporations, who will strip and destroy them. The corporatists and capitalists have so co-opted and purchased politicians so that everything, including precious national resources, are now for sale.
900poundgorilla has learned that U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert has lifted the 17 year old injunction that blocked oil and gas drilling and commercial logging in the Shawnee National Forest, in southern Illinois. The ruling will have a dramatic and likely catstrophic effect on the 280,000 acre wilderness, stretching from the Mississippi river east to the Ohio river. It is home to glacially carved wonders such as The Little Grand Canyon and The Garden of the Gods. Offering camping, Horse and hiking trails, the wilderness is home to a wide spectrum of wildlife, including Beaver, coyote, gray fox, deer, mink, river otter and wild turkey.
Fracking would rob the forest of the watershed supporting it, while logging will erode and devastate this fragile eco-system. Pollution will further devastate the forest, perhaps and likey to an unrecoverable degree. The patroleum industry argues that exploration of the New Albany Shale formation overlaps a small portion at the eastern end of the national forest. The concern is for the watershed that feeds and supports the forest, and that there are currently no horizonal limits to fracking operations, which can extend for miles underground.
Industry and geological maps show a different picture of the New Albany Shale deposit that Fracking companies wish to exploit. Those maps indicate that the deposits are far more extensive. The ramifications to the forest, and surrounding farmland could be devastating. If the Fracking companies gain a foothold there is a fear that they will further exploit that opportunity. The result, apart from the damage to the Shawnee forest could cause a spike in food prices, drive farmers from their lands and destroy southern Illinois’ fragile economy.
Fracking uses millions of gallons of water mixed with a “cocktail” of cancer-causing chemicals to pulverize rock and release natural gas. Fracking has breached aquifers, polluting drinking water, and is shown to cause earthquakes. The Shawnee forest lies in dangerous proximity to one of most potent fault lines in North America. In 1812 one of the largest quakes recorded in American history occurred here, changing the course of the Mississippi river and ringing church bells in Chicago. Scientists agree that a strong quake in the region is long overdue. In 2012, the British government imposed seismic limits to tremors cause by fracking. No such limits appear in current legislation anywhere in the united State.
Environmental and citizen groups were outraged this week when Illinois House speak Michael Madigan cynically abused the democratic system of government to play concerned constituents against the fracking companies. Early in the week he appeared to support a moratorium, which would allow an assessment on possible environmental and economic damage from fracking operations, as a ruse to coax a 3-6% tax from Frackers. the average tax rate imposed by other states is 11%. They are asking for the publics help in contacting Madigan, as well as state reps and senators in demanding his support for HB3086 and SB1418 @ 217/546-7404 and by calling your IL Rep and Sen at 1-217-782-2000.
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