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Rising Tide Chicago

Twenty concerned citizens occupied Illinois Gov. Pat. Quinn’s office Tuesday to protest his support of a state bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing.

After being refused a request for a meeting to discuss the matter with the Governor, three people locked arms and sat down in the middle of the entrance to the Governor’s office demanding that the Governor meet with affected communities to discuss the need for a moratorium on fracking, and to rethink his support of State Bill 1715, a bill to regulate fracking. One of the protesters, Angie Viands, was arrested for trespassing after refusing to leave the Illinois Capitol building after hours of sitting in front of the governor’s office demanding a meeting.

Governor Quinn has publicly stated that he intends to sign the bill once it has passed through the Senate and House.

Hydraulic fracturing is a method for obtaining oil and gas in which large amounts of fresh water, sand and chemicals are combined and forced down a well to fracture underground shale rock to release otherwise trapped fossil fuels. Air and water pollution have been linked to fracking in states including Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The occupation of the governor’s office was part of a day of action that included a press conference, legislative committee testimony and citizen lobbying.  Citizens came from all over the state to voice their discontent with plans to allow fracking in Illinois.

Testimonies from Josh Fox, director of Gasland, along with many other concerned Illinoisans urged lawmakers to put the brakes on fracking in Illinois.

Reports of an exploratory well going up in Johnsonville, IL in Wayne County last week and news that negotiations on regulatory bill SB 1715 were coming to an end, put fuel in the fire of the anti-fracking activists working for a moratorium.

When asked why she participated in the occupation, Dayna Connor of Deep Green Resistance said, “There is no price tag on our dignity. We can’t be forced to give up our land to a for-profit private company. The people and living community come first.”

Critics of the regulatory bill see it as a “Trojan horse” that will allow fracking into Illinois and may set a dangerous precedent for other states. The industry friendly bill puts into place minimal safeguards and leaves citizens vulnerable.

“Instead of hydraulic fracturing which is unsafe, temporary and a source of climate destabilizing greenhouse gases, we should be making our communities more secure by focusing on creating local clean energy solutions that are climate friendly and don’t pollute our precious fresh water.” said Angie Viands of Rising Tide Chicago.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

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