I am writing to argue for a moratorium against fracking in Illinois (SB 1418). Chicago environmentalists argue that “fracking is going to happen anyway.” That is a total capitulation to the industry. The bill that the environmentalists endorse (HB2615) is amazing in the things it does not prevent. It does not force the frackers to recycle their water, allows for methane flaring, allows wells within 300 feet of water sources, allows wells within 500 feet of a house, does not allow adequate testing of produced waters especially for radiation and then allows that waste to be deep well injected and finally allows for the state to overrule counties and municipalities who do not want fracking or more protective measures.
Many states have tried to establish hydraulic fracturing regulations that would allow the industry to drill safely. The problem is regulations do not work. The industry always violates the regulations and when caught pays the fine as part of standard operating procedure. These violations include injecting radioactive water underground, open pit storage of fracking and waste waters even where not permitted, the production of toxic fumes and the sickening of residents, well water contamination and the direct dumping of toxic water into springs and streams. They have gone so far as to sell toxic water to county townships to suppress dust in the summer and to de-ice roads in the winter as if that was safe. Homeowners are duped into selling mineral rights without being told that it will make their houses impossible to sell and wreck their mortgages. In Pennsylvania their violations include:
- 224 violations of “failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of residual waste.”
- 143 violations of “discharge of pollutional material to the waters of Commonwealth.”
- 140 violations of “pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances.”
This does not include the actual damage that they do to the environment, like damaging the roads where they work, and flaring the natural gas that should be harnessed as a fuel source and the constant noise pollution that the above activities produce. I was visiting a friend in Colorado when such a well was put in and the noise and smell alone were enough to sicken me.
The talk of airport tower closures is long overdue. Stop talking and make the hard decisions needed. Central Illinois has Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign, Springfield and Decatur all competing for tax dollars, grants and passengers.
It is time to eliminate four of these and consolidate to a regional hub. Interstates and better roads make this feasible. Or set up shuttles. Better yet, eliminate all of them and make St. Louis the regional hub. Stop funding these airports and let them stand or fail.
Springfield police and other officials would do our town a great service if they would begin to enforce the Litter Control Act. On every street, sidewalk and open field I see liter strewn all over: plastic bottles, fast food paper bags, big gulp cups and many other things that belong in the trash and not in our streets. The Litter Control Act gives officials the authority to fine anyone caught littering. It is a Class B misdemeanor. This includes people tossing cigarette buts out of car windows (which I see happen many times a day). Unfortunately, Springfield officials are not enforcing these laws and for some reason do not seem to care that our town is turning into a landfill. What I would really like to see is for people to stop littering and start caring about the way Springfield looks. Please take advantage of Springfield “Adopt a Street” program and help clean up our streets. Last but not least, every household should pay for trash service and if they don’t then they should have to pay a fine.