In what may be the most shameless in a long line of dishonest appeals, the Illinois oil industry is now asking us to start fracking for the children.
The oil industry propaganda website, Energy In Depth (or Energy in Deception as it's often called), is blaming Illinois' school funding problem on the state's failure to start fracking. They claim additional revenue from fracking is just what school kids need.
It's part of their campaign pressuring the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to rush weak fracking rules. Extraction industries have grown used to IDNR being subservient to their interests, so like a spoiled Veruca Salt, they can't stand not getting everything they want right away.
There are plenty of ways to solve Illinois' school funding problem and most of them don't involve exposing children to carcinogens.
Fracking chemicals have been linked to infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, cancer and more. A Colorado study found both minor and severe health impacts from air emissions for those living near wells. A family in Texas successfully sued over air pollution from gas and oil operations near their ranch.
The inadequate Illinois law does not address the effects of air emissions on those who live near wells.
Fracking is a good idea if you want kids to get nose bleeds, itchy eyes and asthma attacks on the way to school. Maybe the additional funding can be used to hire a school nurse.
This reminds me of my favorite talking point used by industry lobbyists. They like claiming fracking is safe because it includes chemicals you might find under your kitchen sink. Referencing your home kitchen sounds so warm and fuzzy, doesn't it?
But there's a reason people child-proof that cabinet under the kitchen sink. It's so toddlers won't get into the bleach and Drano. What they're really telling us is that fracking involves chemicals that can kill you.
Illinois won't be doing school children any favors by exposing them to a toxic brew of fracking chemicals in the air, soil, and water.
One last point. Energy in Deception continues to paint the opposition to fracking as a “small fringe.” Back in the real world, over 400 people attended the public hearing in Decatur, an industrial town with a reputation for having little interest in environmental activism. I'm not aware of any other environmental issue attracting that kind of crowd in central Illinois. In fact, I've only seen a few issues on any topic motivate this level of passion from average citizens. The same is true for the hundreds of people who attended two southern Illinois hearings and over 600 who heard Josh Fox speak.
This level of participation in an environmental rule making process is completely unprecedented for downstate Illinois. The oil industry (and CapitolFax) can keep claiming “fringe” until their typing fingers are raw. It's still a heaping pile of bullshit.