By Rising Tide Chicago

To the cheers and applause of the dozens of supporters below, anti-fracking activists unfurled a two-story banner with “Don’t Frack Illinois,” from the balcony of the state capitol rotunda. During impassioned testimony from activists with the Illinois Coalition for a Moratorium on Fracking (ICMF), the brightly colored banner gave visual support to the voices gathered from throughout the state who came together in Springfield for this the second lobbying and day of action called for by the coalition. “We won’t allow water, air, and living communities to be traded for short-term jobs,” If the industry pursues fracking in Illinois, we will hold these corporations and the policymakers who support them accountable.” said a member of Deep Green Resistance.

Oil and gas companies have bought mineral rights to land and are poised to start fracking in Southern and Central Illinois. Meanwhile, state lawmakers are debating on how to handle this threat. In February a regulatory, bill HB 2615, was introduced. This bill was crafted by a select group of industry, lawmakers and a few large green groups. This bill puts in place some safeguards, but largely leaves communities vulnerable. Chiefly, HB 2615 does not give local counties local control to ban the practice and it does not require that companies disclose proprietary chemicals used in the mining process prior to introducing them into the environment.

In contrast, a Moratorium bill, SB HB 3086 would put a two year moratorium on fracking in Illinois and require that the state conduct a thorough, independent assessment of the effects of hydraulic fracturing. Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment (SAFE) a grassroots group based out of Carbondale, IL and a growing number of environmental groups are pushing for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Illinois.

“It’s ridiculous that our lawmakers see hydraulic fracturing is an opportunity for our state. Out of state corporations will be making most of the money while residents and our climate will be suffering from this polluting industry” said Angie Viands of Rising Tide Chicago.

This day of action in Springfield included citizen lobbying, a morning press conference with the banner drop, and Illinois Peoples Action storming the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association (IMA) offices. IMA is a main proponent of bringing hydraulic fracturing to the state.