Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

December 17, 2013

Opponents voice concerns at fracking hearing

EFFINGHAM — Monkey suits usually refer to tuxedos or uniforms.

But a Jackson County man at a public hearing Monday wore a real monkey suit to make a point about high-volume hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as fracking.

"I'm not native to this area, so I feel like I am fighting for everybody," said Gene Krahl, a graduate student in philosophy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. "You don't have to be a resident of this area for this to affect you."

"You are the irresponsible ones here," said Krahl to the hearing panel. "It can't be made safe and should be stopped in Illinois."

Monday's hearing at the Effingham Holiday Inn was the third in a series of five hearings on proposed regulations that would govern the fracking process. The hearings are being conducted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to gauge public input on fracking — which involves drilling a vertical well several hundred feet, then drilling horizontally for several thousand feet to access oil and gas locked into the New Albany shale formation.

Most of the speakers identified themselves as either from the Chicago or Carbondale areas. Chicago hosted a hearing late last month, while Carbondale's hearing is set for Thursday.

Nearly all of the speakers Monday warned the panel about what they perceive to be the short- and long-term dangers of fracking. Concerns brought up repeatedly throughout the hearing were radioactivity, enforcement, water pollution and chemical disclosure. But one speaker warned of the danger of increased seismic activity in a region with two earthquake faults.

Kay Ahaus, who identified herself as a longtime Oklahoma resident who now lives in the Clinton County community of Trenton, said Oklahoma has been experiencing frequent minor earthquakes in areas where fracking operations are taking place. She also complained about the distance she had to drive (150 miles round trip) to attend the Effingham hearing.

"You should be holding these hearings in any county where fracking might take place," she said. "And, you should be holding these hearings after the holidays and not in inclement weather."

The Effingham hearing had already been delayed once because of bad weather. Monday's hearing attracted about 100 people, many of whom held green or red thumbs-up signs when a speaker said something they agreed with.

Roosevelt University student Dylan Anlin of Chicago said one reason people felt compelled to attend the Effingham hearing is that more than 50 people were turned away from speaking at the Nov. 26 hearing in Chicago.

"There should be more public hearings," Anlin said. "It's a major issue in addressing climate change.

"Fracking is a terrible route to go down if we're serious about climate change."

Stan Bratman of Chicago said the fracking regulations were poorly written to prevent environmental ills.

"Global warming and pollution are huge problems," Bratman said. "I would encourage a closer look at wind and solar power."

Bratman reminded the panel that their mission should be to protect people.

"It's your job to protect us — not the oil and gas companies," he said.

Sierra Club member Joyce Blumenshire of Peoria said the proposed regulations are "greatly lacking."

"They open the door for fracking operations to begin without public input," she said.

Another speaker said that the time may soon come for civil disobedience.

"It will soon be time to put our bodies between machinery and the whores operating that machinery," said Angel Sides, who did not say where she was from.

But not everybody at Monday's meeting was in favor of stopping high-volume fracking in Illinois.

Teutopolis resident Mike Hewing said he remembers a day when his father would take him quail hunting in southeastern Illinois. Along the way, they stopped in communities that Hewing said were thriving.

Hewing said fracking — conducted with the proper precautions — could help oil and gas producers recover from a blow that was struck nearly two generations ago.

"The windfall profits tax passed in the '70s annihilated southern Illinois," Hewing said. "I think with fracking, we have an opportunity we shouldn't pass up."

The only other local speaker was Dr. Dan Niebrugge of Effingham, who treats children with cancer as a pediatric oncologist. Niebrugge expressed concern about the chemicals used in the fracking process.

"My concern is about all these chemicals that we don't know about," said Niebrugge, who added that he'd like to see more studies done on those chemicals.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com

Text Only
Local News
  • IMG_9368.JPG Storm interrupts power to 1,000 Fayette County residents

    Southwestern Electric line crews worked into the early hours of Thursday morning, restoring power to 1,700 members after a small but intense storm swept through the area Wednesday night.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADM donates to Blessings in a Backpack Archer Daniels Midland Company recently donated $1,000 to Effingham’s Blessings in a Backpack program. The donation will go toward purchasing food for area students for the coming school year.“Support and partnerships with area businesses are a stron

    August 21, 2014

  • golf Golf benefit raises $36K The Friends of St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital’s 6th Annual Golf Benefit was held July 18 at the Effingham Country Club. The event, which evolved through a partnership with Jonathan Kabbes and “Golf for a Cure” held in 2009 and 2010, netted $36,000 t

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nursing students make dean's list Students who are enrolled in at least six credit hours at Lakeview College of Nursing and who achieve a GPA of 3.6 or higher on a 4.0 scale are named to the dean’s list for the semester. Students recently receiving that honor include the following: B

    August 21, 2014

  • Heartland hosts depression presentation Heartland Human Services will host the presentation "Fed Up With Depression? (Discover The Foods That Can Help You Heal)" at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, by the agency's psychiatrist, Dr. Rhoda Gottfried, MD, entitled, along will her husband, Dr. Sam

    August 21, 2014

  • Stocks advance for third day, despite Fed minutes NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market rose for a third straight day Wednesday despite a report from the Federal Reserve that showed a growing chorus of central bank officials willing to raise interest rates sooner rather than later.In the bond market, pri

    August 21, 2014

  • $500K coming to sports complex

    In a 3-2 vote Tuesday, Effingham City Council narrowly approved $500,000 in hotel/motel tax revenue to help fund the construction of the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center during a meeting in which the council approved funds for other entities as well.

    August 20, 2014

  • Shimkus not taking anything for granted despite past electoral success

    U.S. Rep. John Shimkus  hasn't had a serious election challenge in more than a decade. But the longtime congressman said he's not taking anything for granted, even though his sprawling district appears tailor-made for continued Republican representation.

    August 19, 2014

  • Power out in Effingham subdivision; cause not yet known

    A small number of Ameren electric customers on the west side of Effingham were out of power this morning.

    August 19, 2014

  • Unit 40 presents $57k deficit Thanks to a series of personnel moves, Unit 40 officials have estimated a $57,136 deficit for the school year — much less than the $834,000 deficit the previous year. With this year’s expected revenue at $28,695,717 and expenditures coming in at $28,

    August 19, 2014

AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.