About 70 opponents to the state of Illinois’ Fracking policy braved unseasonably frigid temperatures at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago Friday, drawing attention significant gaps in proposed legislation. Those gaps would allow fracking companies systemic loopholes, allowing them to ignore or flout regulations on health and safety.
Before the gathered citizen activists and media speakers detailed the dangers of fracking, particularly in southern Illinois. Dr. Lora Chamberlain, long time environmental activist, warned of fracking in southern Illinois, and cited the possibility of earthquakes, particularly adjacent to the New Madrid fault line.
Geologists have confirmed that mapping of faultlines in the area is incomplete. The New Madrid line, running across southern Illinois and Missouri, was the site of the nation’s most powerful earthquake in 1811. Over the course of a few months strong shocks changed the course of the Mississippi, caused the river to flow backwards and rang bells in Chicago. Scientists believe that a quake in the region is long overdue.
Following the protest, a number of activists made their way to Attorneys General Lisa Madigan’s office, as well as Govrenor Quinn’s office. Among those taking a list of demands and concerns to Madigan’s office was Vnancy Wade, who ran for Congress in 2012 for the Illinois 5th congressional district. Mrs wade remains activist as a champion and advocate for environmental and civil rights.
Dr. Chamberlain addressed her concerns to Press assistant to the govenor Andrew Mason, and presented him with a packet updating thousands of pages of documents already presented directly to the Governor and other Illinois officials.
Again and again she brought up cancer, health and safety concerns that seem to be ignored by Illinois officials in favor of corporate interests. She reiterated data showing that fracking will in fact lead to a loss of Illinois jobs, as well as destroying and polluting the Shawnee National Forest as well as untold acres of farmland, in a health and environmental disaster that may not become apparent for decades.
“Are you crazy? well not you,” Chamberlain told Mason, smiling, “well not you personally, but is the governor insane?”
After presenting materials the protesters left peacefully. A much larger rally is planned in April in Daley Plaza. Stay tuned…
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