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Fracking Independence Day: Frontline Group SAFE Appeals for Support and Action

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SAFE is (or will be soon) a not-for-profit 501c3 charitable organization, operating independently of other groups but in conjunction with those organizations or citizen groups who also choose to work boldly toward a ban on fracking.

JB: What are SAFE's main immediate needs, in terms of funding, office space, outreach, and wider support?

TST: The movement is in a new phase. I can only presume to guess that a full time and a part time staffed position are needed, as well as retaining an attorney for many of the legal concerns raised on a daily basis.

All the things that go into an office...rent, utilities, phone, copier, paper, print cartridges, etc. I would need more time to research the approximate figure for the basics.

Travel expenses -- it is three hours north to the thick of the New Albany shale -- a tank of gas and 360 miles -- if we have volunteer groups willing to do water testing of surface water we should be willing to compensate mileage at what cost I don't know, but if SAFE gets a 501c3 then what SAFE can't cover would then be a tax deduction.

Fracking poses a risk to the commons; air and water. Rural Illinois citizens need to have access to funds to have their water tested for specific chemicals that will provide the water well owner burden of proof evidence should there be contamination of a well. Currently the law does not test residents outside of a 1500' radius of the well bore and the well may extend up to a mile or more. It has been suggested that anyone within 1 KM of the well bore in any direction should have their well tested.

A basic pre-frack test is about $400. SAFE would like to have a fund to help families in need who would like testing but otherwise can't afford it. If nothing else, an Illinois tax credit when using a certified lab.

Air monitoring devices:

Radioactivity monitoring devices for alpha and gamma particle

Water testing at a certified lab: min $400 each

The needs of this movement are vast.

JB: Illinois is once again in the mist of an incredible coal mining rush -- with a nearly 25 percent increase in the last year, and a five-fold increase in coal exports. Should frontline anti-fracking and coal mining groups be working together to deal with the extraction rush, and do you think groups like SAFE also need to be discussing "transition" efforts to clean energy production?

TST: The extraction industries are a perpetual boom bust cycle that has plagued Southern Illinois for as long as it has been inhabited by Europeans. Whether it was salt mining, logging, the various forms of coal removal, conventional oil drilling or hydro-carbon extraction via high volume high pressure horizontal fracturing, it perpetuates a mentality of victimization and enables rural communities to remain in a state of helplessness, instead of learning healthy means of sustainability via alternate means of commerce.

SAFE would gladly welcome conversations and the opportunity to create a regional planning group focused on transitional and long term strategies for maintaining a local economy based on sustainability and clean energy methods.

We plan for our children's education, we buy life insurance just in case, so they are "taken care of" in the event of an untimely death, but I find it ironic that when we talk to our elected officials about how to insure a healthy environment for our children's future, it falls on deaf ears. There is no contingency plan.

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