Plenty. There are so many things not included in the bill and the closed door process which gave birth to it that it begs credulity. Make no doubt about it, HB2615 is a pro-industry, full-speed ahead fracking bill. The bill describes in some detail a regulatory regime created by the American Petroleum Institute and self-written corporate “plans” to address crucial issues of “well site safety”, “storage and disposal of materials”, “containment”, “traffic management” and “water” to name a few. The mere fact that the big corporate lobbyists say the bill is the most stringent in the nation should raise red flags.
Look, its about the health and safety to humans and farmland, its about millions of gallons of water use in a multi-year severe drought, and disregard to climate change. The pro-fracking bill doesn’t care about those critical issues one bit – but people of Illinois, who don’t stand to make profits from fracking – certainly do. If Gov. Cuomo in New York state can extend their fracking moratorium because the science is still uncertain, what’ so different about the science in Illinois?
Obviously the scientific method works in New York and Illinois, the difference is big energy corporations that will profit from fracking have more power in Illinois than they do in New York and they’ve rolled those politicians and activists who claim to protect us.
Local control is of fracking well permits is gone in the bill. Counties in Illinois have a strong history of protecting people and farmland, and at a minimum conducting citizen participation as an important part of their decision-making. County control is abolished under the rush to frack. Under the bill all a county can do is complain to the state and have a hearing. That window dressing isn’t going to stop anything.
And the process getting here was broken from the beginning. The media headlines describe how everybody’s working together! That’s just not true. Our sources tell us the only way a group got into the closed door “negotiations” was as a supporter of fracking, maybe not a cheerleader, but not for a ban either. It was important to be a team player. IPA never got in, nor did SAFE, the two active grassroots opponents calling for a ban. The opposition to fracking never got a seat at the table, and that’s just wrong.
So what are we left with? The pro-fracking bill with all the steam is being pushed by a handful of liberal Democrats, Democratic Governor, Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, and a couple big environmental groups. And they all have the same spin, “it’s the best we can get”. Not true. Just wait to hear from us, “People before Profits!”