The Illinois Coalition Against Fracking celebrates the passage of SB 3174 through the Illinois State Senate. If passed, this bill will close up some of the most glaring loopholes in the state’s fracking regulation and grant the public the right-to-know when and where fracking, in all forms, is occurring. Though the bill still needs to pass through the House before becoming law, this vote is a victory for Illinois communities over oil and gas industry profits and trade secrets.
Illinoisans have opposed the proliferation of fracking in the state for five years, calling for a ban. Since the first call for a moratorium in 2013, countless studies have reiterated that fracking poses serious threats to the public health and environmental safety of Illinois. SB 3174 will bring to light well locations and chemicals used in fracking operations to Illinoisans on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website.
Horizontal hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, is new drilling technology to access oil unobtainable in conventional drilling. This high power process bores into underground layers of rock and then injects massive amounts of water, sand, and dangerous chemicals at extreme pressure. This process creates fractures that allow oil and gas to flow back to the surface. Fracking has been known to poison water supplies, and is responsible for a dramatic rise in earthquakes from the injection of fracking wastewater into deep disposal wells.
“The Oil & Gas Act of 1951 grants confidentiality of well data for two years. This is utterly unacceptable,” said Bill Rau, Illinois People’s Action leader. “Illinois citizens have the right to know whether a potentially toxic oil or gas well is transecting their property and running directly under their water well and home.”
“The state’s current regulation does not take into account new and emerging research detailing the long-term health effects of fracking,” said Jenya Polozova, Food & Water Watch organizer. “There have been over 600 new citations published in the NY Compendium on the health impacts of fracking since the Illinois regulations were published in 2013. Our policy must keep up with the current science.”
“SB3174 must be passed in order to ensure that landowners are aware of drilling occuring underneath and near their property, and not two years after the fact, said Vito Mastrangelo, Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment leader. “We call on the House to pass this bill and put people over industry secrets.”