Target: Senator Don Harmon, Co-chair of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules
Goal: Reject harmful fracking rules recently approved in secret and without proper opportunity for public input
Environmental groups in Illinois are reeling from what many see as a calculated betrayal. For more than two years conservationists, farmers and concerned citizens have participated in public hearings on the fate of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within their state. Yet new fracking guidelines approved by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) were initially kept secret from the public, even as energy companies were given a green light to apply for drilling permits. The state’s environmental council was left out of key negotiations, and it appears that citizens’ concerns have been completely disregarded.
“The rules were negotiated behind closed doors, without meaningful scientific review,” said local activist Annette McMichael in an interview with the Huffington Post. “There is no doubt they will be woefully inadequate to protect Illinois residents from the known harms horizontal fracking has brought to residents across America.”
Those who care about climate change, government transparency and the future of Illinois have reason to be upset. Several laws regarding public meeting process were violated, perhaps in an attempt to speed through the rules’ approval without drawing additional protest. The final word on whether or not to adopt the guidelines rests with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), and activists are demanding the fracking rules be rejected.
Illinois has already seen a huge increase in coal mining in recent years. Allowing fracking to proceed unchecked, with weak protections for human health and the environment, will come at a tremendous cost. All JCAR members are elected officials with a duty to protect the people of Illinois, its forests and rivers. Call on the committee to reject IDNR’s fracking rules, and insist that the public’s concerns are adequately addressed.
Dear Senator Harmon,
You have before you a daunting task. Along with the other members of JCAR, you have the responsibility of either approving or rejecting a set of fracking guidelines recently drafted by IDNR.
Tens of thousands of Illinois residents have participated in protests against fracking in their state, yet their concerns have fallen on deaf ears. Eager to grant access to oil and gas companies, IDNR negotiated the fracking rules behind closed doors and in violation of laws requiring public input in such decisions. It now falls on you to reject these rules, and to insist upon a new process that takes to heart citizens’ concerns and scientific research showing the dangers fracking poses for human health and the environment.
There is but one responsible course of action to take. Please, stand up for the people of Illinois and reject IDNR’s proposed fracking rules.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons