It’s not time for anybody to declare victory yet, according to an anti-fracking activist. After representatives of industry, labor, and environmental interests joined lawmakers to celebrate the introduction of a bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing in Illinois, Annette McMichael was ready to rain on the parade. McMichael is part of SAFE – Southern Illinoisans against Fracturing Our Environment. She lives in Monticello but hopes to retire to Jackson County, where she owns land.
Hydraulic fracturing is the practice of injecting chemicals into the ground to force out oil and gas. Leases have already been sold for the right to frack in Southern Illinois, and the bill introduced this week would set up what are billed as the most stringent regulations in the country.
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“A moratorium bill, that we introduced last week with Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), is the only common-sense approach to this issue,” says McMichael. She says the new bill “doesn’t address how much water will be used; there are just several holes in that bill.”
McMichael, who says her group is one of several left out of the negotiations, says she appreciates the efforts of the environment groups which worked on the bill and which endorse it, but she says she disagrees with anyone who says hydraulic fracturing is inevitable in Illinois.
McMichael says SAFE is holding a meeting, “The Fracking Truth,” March 1 in Carbondale.