IL DNR Holds Public Forum on Fracking Rules on Tuesday, Nov 25, at UIC

SUST at RU just received this email from the Chicagoland Against Fracking grassroots activist organization, noted below in italics. It provides details about tomorrow night’s public meeting to be held at the UIC campus from 6:30 to 8:30pm, during which citizens can comment upon the IDNR’s recently released rules/regulations for fracking operations here in IL.

Illinois is about to become ground-zero for reckless hydraulic-fracturing – a dangerous extractive process that uses millions of gallons of water and toxic chemicals to fracture layers of rock to release gas. Fracking pollutes our water and air, produces serious health problems, exacerbates global warming, creates toxic radioactive wastewater, and causes earthquakes…but the fossil fuel industry doesn’t care, because fracking is enormously profitable.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), charged with drafting fracking regulations in Illinois, has just released a set of rules that are woefully inadequate for protecting the health and safety of Illinoisans. Two things that can be done immediately:
1. Come to IDNR’s public hearing on their proposed fracking regulations! Here are the details:
When: Tuesday, Novermber 26 | 6:30-8:30pm (Doors open at 5:30pm, press conference at 5:00 pm)
Where: 750 S. Halsted St., UIC Student Center, Room 302
RSVP and Share the Event on Facebook Here

2. Help write a comment to IDNR on why the rules they released are completely inadequate to protect Illinois. IDNR has only allowed 50 days (til January 3rd) during this holiday season for the public to submit comments. Fortunately, you can submit as many comments as you’d like!

In addition, Jen Walling of the IL Environmental Council non-profit has provided a handy list of the following action tools created by several of IEC’s member organizations.  Please take the time to choose one and make a comment to the IDNR.

  • Ann Alexander of Natural Resources Defense Council has put together an initial review of the rules in her blog here. This blog details serious concerns and the many ways in which the rules do not meet the intention of the statute.
  • The Sierra Club Illinois Chapter has put together an information page and action alert here. They have organized the categories of changes that they’d like to see into: Stronger Protections Against Water Pollution, Closing Loopholes To Ensure All High-Volume Fracking Is Covered, and Stricter Penalties And Disclosure.
  • The Environmental Law and Policy Center has put together an important fact sheet on five of the top problems with the rules.  Read more and take action at their site.
  • Faith in Place has also put together an action site for congregations and people of faith.  Click here to view the site and take action.

Here in the Land of Lincoln, we are at an important turning point in the fracking debate. The IL Dept of Natural Resources yesterday released its draft Rules and Regulations for fracking in the state, thus starting a brief period of public scrutiny and input via public meetings and written comments. As noted by the IL Environmental Council policy/advocacy organization:

The rules published today are not final and are presented to the public for consideration and comment as part of First Notice before they will be considered by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). First Notice lasts for a minimum of 45 days.  During first notice, IDNR accepts and must respond to public comments.

These comments are important, because they may sway the IDNR to revised its proposed rules and regs before releasing for a second review by both the public the JCAR. No fracking is yet underway in Illinois — for the moment. But if the general public sleepwalks through the commenting period on the DNR’s proposed regulations just released, fracking operations will begin in Southern Illinois in a matter of months — perhaps as early as the fall of 2014.

Learn more about the IDNR’s regulations and how to comment on them here.

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