To learn about hydraulic fracturing "fracking", and how you can help, visit these websites:
( Environment Illinois site about the dangers of fracking)
(Illinois Sierra Club has an action alert that lets you write a letter to your state rep and senator, urging them to support a fracking moratorium)
What is Hydraulic Fracturing a.k.a. Hydrofracking, Fracking?
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is most often referred to as the practice of injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressures to fracture the rock and release natural oil and natural gas. This 2011 Congressional Report identifies the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. It is the most comprehensive list we know of to date. The list includes highly toxic carcinogenic chemicals like benzene, toluene, formaldehyde and diesel fuel. See illustrated examples at What the Frack is in That Water?
Fracking has been used in Illinois since the early 1940′s to stimulate oil wells. The process subjects enough pressure that the rocks in the productive formation fracture, or break. The purpose of the sand is to prop open the fracture, so it stays in place. What is unleashed from the shale itself includes methane and other hydrocarbons, salt or brine, heavy metals, and *radioactive elements. Brines originated from sea water initially incorporated in the sediment. Subsequent compaction and chemical alteration resulted in concentration of the constituents. For comparative purposes, the surface water closest in composition to these subsurface brines is that of the present day Dead Sea, according to the Illinois EPA.
* Our Illinois new Albany Shale is high in radioactivity according to this geological report
Oil and natural gas extraction from shale, in other words, the entire process of fracking, is a complex series of procedures which include:
1) Building access roads, digging centralized water and flowback holding ponds and construction of the well site itself
2) Construction of compressor stations and above ground and underground gas pipelines
3) Drilling the well: down into the ground vertically first, and then horizontally up to a mile in the case of high volume horizontal fracking
4) Hydraulic fracturing: sending millions of gallons of a water, chemicals and sand at extremely high pressure deep into a well bore in the earth causing shale to fracture and release natural gas. This can be done up to eighteen times.
5) Capturing and transporting the natural gas and oil
6) Disposal of flowback water or brine which is then disposed of in evaporation pits or injected at high pressure into disposal wells, or “deep injection wells.” There are 7843 Class II wells currently in Illinois, according to the US EPA.
The Illinois EPA regulates Class I, III, IV, and V wells in Illinois and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources regulates Class II wells. The dilemma is that Illinois IDNR admits it does not have enough people or funding to properly monitor Class II wells.
The Costs of Fracking: Environment America Research & Policy Center Documents Dollars Drained by Dirty Drilling
Firing a new salvo in the ongoing debate over fracking, Environment America Research & Policy Center today released a report documenting a wide range of dollars and cents costs imposed by dirty drilling. As documented in The Costs of Fracking report, fracking creates millions of dollars of health costs related to everything from air pollution to ruined roads to contaminated property.
“Fracking’s environmental damage is bad enough, but it turns out that this dirty drilling imposes heavy dollar and cents costs as well,” said John Rumpler, Senior Attorney for Environment America Research & Policy Center and a co-author of the report. “And in many cases, the public will be left holding the bag for those costs.”
The report’s documented examples of fracking costs include the following:
- Drinking water contamination: In Dimock, Pennsylvania, permanently replacing residents’ contaminated drinking water with a new source was estimated at more than $11 million.
- Health costs from air pollution: in Arkansas’ Fayetteville Shale region, air pollution from fracking operations impose health costs estimated at $9.8 million in one year. In Texas’ Barnett Shale region, those costs reach $270,000 per day during the summer smog season.
- Roads to ruin: with fracking operations requiring thousands of trips by trucks and heavy machinery, a Texas task force approved $40 million in funding for road repairs in the Barnett Shale region.
Other fracking costs documented in the report range from nearby homeowners losing property value to farmers losing livestock from fracking contamination.
Moreover, the record of prior booms indicates that the public will all too often be stuck with the bill for such fracking costs. For example, Pennsylvania is now stuck with an estimated $5 billion cost for cleaning up mining pollution from decades gone ago. Similarly, the current gas drilling rush is plagued with inadequate financial assurance and the difficulty of proving liability, especially for impacts that are long-term.
“We have seen the tragedy of polluting booms before,” observed Rumpler. “In all likelihood, individual property owners and the public at large will be left holding the bag for the legacy of fracking.”
The Costs of Fracking report comes as several states and localities are considering bans or moratoria on fracking, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is considering new rules for the dirty drilling practice on public lands.
The case against fracking is sufficiently compelling based on its damage to the environment and health alone. For Environment America Research & Policy Center, the costs documented in its report are an additional reason for ending the dirty drilling practice. This Saturday, September 22nd, citizens in more than 20 states will gather to call for a ban on fracking, as part of a “Global Frackdown” effort.
In addition, to the extent that fracking is continuing at thousands of sites across the nation, the group also recommends that state and federal agencies – including the BLM – require dramatically stepped up bonding requirements and other financial assurances that match the full scope of fracking’s immediate and long-term costs.
“Our review of the evidence convinces us that fracking is inherently destructive and costly,” concluded Rumpler. “But if companies like Exxon, Chesapeake, and Halliburton want to assert otherwise, then they should put their money where their mouths are; at a minimum, that means big-time bonds so the public isn’t left holding the bag.”
How YOU Can Support SB1418/HB3086!
ACTIONS – HOW YOU CAN HELP Support Senate Bill SB1418 (and its mirror bill in the House HB3086), which places a moratorium on horizontal hydraulic fracturing in Illinois and appoints a two-year science-based investigative task force to examine current and ongoing research into the risks of horizontal fracking.
1. CALL YOUR Illinois State Representative and Senator, plus Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. To find your IL state representative and senator, call the IL State Board of Elections at (217) 782-4141. Speaker Madigan’s Springfield Office number is (217) 782-5350.
2. CALL/WRITE/EMAIL/VISIT ANY Illinois State Representatives and Senators with this message. We have a short time to reach all of our Illinois legislators, so reach out to any legislators who will listen.
Ask them to support SB1418/HB3086. We need a moratorium on fracking, not an industry-backed regulatory bill which will bring high-volume fracking to Illinois before we know it’s SAFE for our kids and grandkids. With widespread examples of severe water, air, and soil contamination; documented health risks from exposure to chemicals near fracking; livestock deaths; substantial property value losses; and communities devastated from high-volume fracking across the US, it would be irresponsible for Illinois to write a regulatory bill for high-volume fracking before it looks into the science and research regarding this highly controversial practice.
SB 1418/HB3086 places a moratorium on high-volume fracking in Illinois, with a 2-year appointed task force to examine current, ongoing research and scientific evidence regarding the many aspects and implications of high-volume fracking, including crucial current studies on health effects in residents near high-volume fracking operations. We need to see the evidence before we consider how to proceed.
3. COORDINATE with other groups working to pass the moratorium bill.
Any individual or organization is welcome to contact SAFE at firstname.lastname@example.org
If your organization would like to join the Illinois Coalition for a Moratorium on Fracking (ICMF) please contact Dr. Lora Chamberlain email@example.com (773) 486-7660
4. EMAIL and POST ON FACEBOOK the link to this page http://www.dontfractureillinois.net/how-you-can-support-the-fracking-moratorium-and-task-force-bill/ to get everyone on board!