Dear Elected Official,
Concerned by the rapidly expanding evidence of harm and the growing uncertainties caused by unconventional oil & natural gas development and production, we, the undersigned organizations, call for a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing, “fracking,” in Illinois.
Fracking destabilizes the climate. Fracking wells release large amounts of methane gas, which is known to trap 34 times more heat than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the decades after it is emitted, contributing greatly to climate change.
Fracking water contamination destroys families’ drinking water. Pollution from fracking chemicals contaminates drinking water and puts peoples’ health at risk.
Fracking produces massive volumes of toxic and radioactive waste. The disposal of this waste is causing earthquakes and putting drinking water resources at risk.
Fracking pumps hazardous pollutants into the air and uses over 100 dangerous chemicals known to cause life-threatening illnesses, including cancer.
Fracking disrupts local communities. Fracking presents a broad number of consequences for people living in areas where it is occurring, including damage to public roads, declines in property value, increased crime and an increased demand on emergency services. Fracking presents a clear violation of property rights through subsurface trespass and current regulations do not offer property owners adequate or transparent information.
Fracking causes thousands of accidents, leaks and spills. More than 7,500 accidents related to fracking occurred in 2013, negatively impacting water quality in rivers, streams and shallow aquifers.
The state’s current regulation does not take into account new and emerging research detailing the long-term or cumulative health effects of this drilling practice. There have been 692 new citations published in the NY Compendium on the health impacts of fracking since Illinois regulations were published in 2013. The emerging science on shorter-latency effects is showing significant threats that would affect the health and safety of Illinoisans, and the quality of our air, water, and soil.
Citing significant public health risks, Vermont banned fracking in 2012, New York officials announced in 2014 that they would ban hydraulic fracturing in the State. They have been joined by the state of Maryland in 2017, and more than 500 communities across the country in protecting citizens rather than expanding outdated, dirty energy. Fracking could cause irreparable damage to our state’s unique tourism and sustainable agriculture economies. There is no evidence that this risky practice can be made safe by best practices or state regulations; only an outright ban can protect Illinois health and economy. Based on what we now know, we believe that fracking endangers public health and is the wrong approach to protect the robust Illinois economy and build a clean, sustainable energy future. Fracking is not a necessary technology, and development of fracking infrastructure slows our transition to renewable, clean energy. This unwelcome infrastructure is often forced upon communities in what is essentially eminent domain for private gain.
A just transition to 100% renewable energy is necessary to ensure the health and survival of our planet. Illinois can contribute to this transition and lead the clean energy revolution. We urge the legislature to pass a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing.