“We are strong and we're here to fight!” Fracking comments from Decatur and Carbondale, IL

Since I posted video of the other Illinois fracking hearings I thought I'd do one more for the Decatur and Carbondale hearings. The sound is poor on most of my video from Decatur so I'm only posting about 15 minutes. Roughly 400 citizens came to the Decatur hearing, making it the largest central Illinois crowd for an environmental issue anyone I spoke to can remember. There's more video of the Decatur hearing at the end of a good Illinois Times article.

Flu kept me from the Carbondale hearing, but luckily someone with a better camera than me is posting video. The crowd of over 200 was fired up.  Politicians and businessmen who believe fracking in Illinois is “inevitable” should watch video of the Carbondale hearing for a reality check about the stiff opposition they'll face.

People are used to thinking of Chicago as being the liberal center of Illinois, but it's people in southern Illinois (closer to where fracking will occur) who are most defiant in their opposition. Chicago groups are talking about how to improve the regulations, while people in impacted regions are talking about stopping fracking and changing political realities to build support for a ban. At the two southernmost hearings, people who stood up in a public meeting and called for nonviolent civil disobedience to stop fracking outnumbered those who made timid requests to improve the regulations enough to make it safe.

I wrote a little more about that dynamic at my HuffingtonPost piece today. I suspect someday an Environmental Justice 101 class will look back on this as a case study in how big green groups following the agenda of major grant donors marginalized, undercut and sacrificed people in a poor rural area. Southern Illinois is District 12.

That should be it for my hearing posts. Friday, January 3, is the last day to make a comment to DNR on the proposed regulation.