Issues: Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)
Position in Brief
The 2013 League of Women Voters of Illinois Convention took place as two separate bills related to hydraulic fracturing were pending in the state legislature. Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a process by which high pressure water, sand, and unidentified chemicals are pumped underground to fracture geologic formations in order to release fossil fuels. The process poses a threat to water and other natural resources and evidence exists that it increases the incidence of earthquakes.
Convention delegates voted to continue work for a moratorium and, if the bill regulating the process becomes law, LWVIL would work for the most effective rules to protect Illinois residents, environment, tourism; sufficient funding and staffing to enforce those rules; and provisions for public input and local control by those most affected by the introduction of hydraulic fracturing in Illinois.
Thanks to you and like-minded Illinois residents, Representative John Bradley’s efforts to fast-track SB649, which would bypass public comments and permit fracking throughout most of Illinois, FAILED.
However, permits for fracking are being issued by IDNR despite the fact that the Regulations have not yet been approved. At least three wells have been located and photographed by grassroots activists.
Recently released data on oil spills from the Government Accountability Office and other sources is staggering. At least 20 known spills per day are happening. Click here to read more.
Newly released data continues to highlight the dangers of fracking:
While the newly released EPA Standards to reduce carbon emissions from power plants are a positive step in the right direction, there are concerns that an unintended consequence will be the increased use of natural gas. This will likely accelerate the problem of climate change.
All the bills introduced into this session of the Illinois General Assembly and intended to make fracking safer were sent to a subcommittee from which they are unlikely to emerge before the end of this session on May 31st. Sentiment among some legislators is that there would have to be a major fracking-related incident before any bills to limit or ban fracking would pass from the General Assembly.
On another topic, there is increasing concern about the toxic, explosive material that is transported daily by train through highly populated and environmentally sensitive areas. A new analysis of government data shows that more oil was spilled from trains in the U.S. in 2013 than in every year between 1975 and 2012 combined. The railroad industry estimates their chance of leaking in derailments at 1 in 4.