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Pro-Fracking Greens Called Out in Ecologist Sandra Steingraber's New Manifesto

In a statement, ecologist Sandra Steingraber denounced Illinois’ new fracking regulations and described the need for a movement dedicated to abolishing fracking nationwide.

Photo Credit: Sarah Kelsen


A new salvo has been fired in the national battle against fracking.

Within hours of the Illinois General Assembly's vote on its controversial bill on hydraulic fracking last Friday night, the AP's  headline rippled across nationwide newspapers: "Illinois lawmakers approve nation's toughest fracking regulations."

With New York  readying to rescind or keep in place that state's temporary moratorium, and high stakes  battles taking place across the nation about whether to regulate fracking or place moratoriums on it, Steingraber and a network of citizen groups have viewed Illinois as the staging ground for a fracking rush that will have an extraordinary ripple effect. Not so fast, says  Dr. Sandra Steingraber, the renowned scientist whom Rolling Stone has called the "  toxic avenger." She returned to her native Illinois last week to join a growing  citizens uprising against gas drilling and sand mining operations she defines as "an accident-prone, inherently dangerous industrial process with risks that include catastrophic and irremediable damage to our health and environment."

Once hailed by the Sierra Club as the "new Rachel Carson," Steingraber denounced Illinois’ bill as "the result of closed-door negotiations between industry representatives and compromise-oriented environmental organizations." She testified in front of a last minute committee hearing of the Illinois House of Representatives, protested with sit-in activists, met with bill negotiators, and was even tossed out of the Illinois General Assembly for speaking out (see video at the bottom of this article).

With Gov. Pat Quinn's signature imminent, Business Insider gushed that Illinois “could become the epicenter of America's next oil boom."

Not under their watch, says Steingraber and the Illinois anti-fracking shock troops.

Issuing a "Fracking Manifesto," she has thrown down the gauntlet on Illinois' regulatory fallout as a cautionary tale for citizens groups, environmental organizations and frackers across the nation. 

"We call for a mobilization that brings fracking realities to the rest of the nation," the manifesto declares. "If our elected officials refuse to visit the fracking fields, then we will bring the fracking fields to them—in the form of science, stories, photographs, film, lectures, hearings, and journalism. If elected officials refuse to defend our land, water, air, and health against those who would despoil them for their own profit, then we will do it ourselves, using peaceful, non-violent methods."

The full document is below.

A Fracking Manifesto

from Sandra Steingraber and the people of Illinois to the nation

We know that high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracking, or HVHF, is an accident-prone, inherently dangerous industrial process with risks that include catastrophic and irremediable damage to our health and environment.

We know that HVHF and its attendant technologies:

  • contribute to groundwater contamination, including 219 cases in Pennsylvania alone;
  • turn massive amounts of fresh, drinkable water into massive amounts of briny, poisonous flowback fluid for which there is no failsafe disposal solution;
  • vent hazardous air pollutants that are associated with cancer, asthma, heart attack, stroke, and preterm birth;
  • release radioactive substances—including radon, which is the number two cause of lung cancer—and benzene, which is a proven cause of leukemia—from deep geological strata;
  • fragment forests in ways that decimate birds and wildlife, sabotage natural flood control systems, and pour sediment into rivers and streams;
  • industrialize communities in ways that vastly increase truck traffic, noise pollution, light pollution, stress, crime, and the need for emergency services;
  • offer jobs that are dangerous, toxic, and temporary, with a fatality rate seven times that of other industries; and
  • leak prodigious amounts of methane, a potent heat-trapping gas.

We know these problems cannot be prevented by any set of rules or government office, let alone state agencies like those in Illinois, which have been cut to the bone by budget cuts and cannot be counted on for regulatory enforcement.

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