Over 150 people attended a Saturday morning community meeting to oppose fracking in McLean County. Organized by Illinois People’s Action, the meeting had a two-fold purpose: educate the public and elected officials on the dangers of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas (“fracking”) and hold an accountability meeting with McLean County board members to seek their support of a ban on fracking in the county.
Numerous public officials were invited to the meeting, and eight of the twenty members of the McLean County board attended and participated. The lively program included educational presentations and personal testimonies on fracking, a screening of Josh Fox’s documentary “The Sky is Pink [Video in Full],” and an accountability session when McLean County board members were asked to state where they stand on a fracking ban.
Community education on the issue drew upon the knowledge of local residents.
Bill Rau, member of Illinois People’s Action and Vision 2020, presented on the life-threatening dangers of fracking. Mr. Rau explained in depth the numerous dire problems with the process, including the climate changing methane produced as a byproduct, the threat fracking poses in contaminating our water supply, the stress it would play on water reservoirs, the severe issue of radioactive water waste, and the devastating industrialization it brings to rural areas. [VIDEO Part 1 of Bill Rau’s presentation / Part 2 of Bill Rau’s presentation]
Sandra Lindburg, member of the Unitarian-Universalist Church, spoke on the pro-fracking orientation of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and its power in spearheading bills to support the oil and gas industry. ALEC pushes fracking and helps with the actual crafting of the laws.
After watching Josh Fox’s film “The Sky is Pink,” five community members spoke out against fracking from different perspectives (Links below are VIDEO of their testimony):
Annette McMichael – “They Want My Land”
Jack Porter – Banning Fracking from a Faith Perspective
Kelly Schneider – Fracking from a Youth Perspective
Dave Bishop – Fracking from a Farming Perspective
Lori McConville – “Surrounded by Fracking”
The Accountability Meeting with McLean County officials occurred after the educational component, with the intention of securing a commitment from attending officials that they would support a ban. Emily Carroll, representing the Midwest Chapter of Food and Water Watch [VIDEO of Emily Carroll’s presentation], and Mary Bechtel with Holy Trinity Church spoke on the primary reason for a ban – namely that fracking is too dangerous to our health and environment to be regulated. Each of the elected officials present were then asked to stand with IPA and allies in support of a ban on fracking.
Of those present, six county board members supported a county and state wide ban on fracking: Scott Black, George Gordon, Eric Rankin, Victoria Harris, Sally Pyne, and Laurie Wollrab. Susan Schaeffer answered ‘almost yes’ to supporting a ban, and Chuck Erickson said that he needed more information before making a commitment. [VIDEO of Accountability Meeting Part 1 / VIDEO of Accountability Meeting Part 2 / VIDEO of Accountability Meeting Part 3]
Dawn Dannenbring-Carlson concluded the meeting with the next steps on the issue. Ms. Dannenbring-Carlson invited people present to join Illinois People’s Action to support the work it does on the issue and provided a petition packet to speak with friends and community members. Over 141 people signed the petition to ban fracking at the meeting. [VIDEO of Next Steps]
Illinois People’s Action – Fracking Page
Local resource page provided by the faith-based organization, Illinois People’s Action
Ban Fracking in Illinois (Facebook page)
A Facebook page with information on the campaign to ban fracking in Illinois.
Food and Water Watch – Ban Fracking Resource Page
Food and Water Watch offers a plethora of research on the disastrous fracking epidemic, as well as ways to get involved in the national movement.
Previous Just BloNo Articles on Fracking
Gaslands Screening: Learning About Fracking (June 14, 2011)
No Fracking Way! (August 19, 2012)
IPA Mobilizes Community Against Fracking (September 9, 2012)
Sandra Steingraber: Don’t Frack New York Speech (October 2, 2012)
UU Church to Screen ‘Split Estate’ (October 5, 2012)