THE BLOG

Fracking Legislation in Springfield: Where We Stand

03/14/2013 02:08 pm ET | Updated May 14, 2013

Sierra Club is opposed to fracking. Fracking is devastating to communities and families all over the country -- polluting our air and water, and contributing to the destabilization of our climate.

That's why the Sierra Club supports a moratorium on fracking in Illinois: We want to stop destructive drilling before it can start. Our responsibility is to ensure our representatives take the strongest possible actions to protect our families and the environment. We stand with Representative Mell, Senator Hunter, Speaker Madigan, and other legislators who have expressed their support for a two-year timeout while we analyze the tremendous risks fracking poses for Illinois.

While we stand with all of those calling for a moratorium, we also acknowledge that, until we pass a moratorium, fracking is legal in Illinois, and may indeed already may be occurring. HB 2615 does not allow or open the door to fracking in Illinois -- unfortunately that door is wide open today, and our health and environment are at great risk. Our pre-World War II Oil and Gas Act is entirely inadequate to protect us from fracking's many threats, and our Department of Natural Resources has none of the resources needed to oversee this controversial industry. For these reasons we support The Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act, HB 2615, which will provide at least some solid measures to protect ourselves from the dangers of fracking. However, our support for these protections does not mean they give us any confidence that fracking in Illinois can be done safely, or that any regulatory regime could adequately address all of the risks posed by fracking. On the contrary, we oppose fracking coming to Illinois and continue to build support for a moratorium.

A far safer and better path to job creation and economic development in Illinois is to continue to build our clean energy economy. We have created over 20,000 jobs in wind and solar energy since Illinois set clean energy targets in 2007, and that is only the beginning of the economic and environmental benefits if we prioritize clean energy. Conservation efforts can also create jobs and business opportunities while reducing the demand for natural gas, and lower our utility bills. We urge the General Assembly to approve pending renewable energy and energy efficiency measures to help Illinois take advantage of these opportunities and all the benefits they offer our state.