Some Southern Illinois residents are concerned about hydraulic fracturing related water quality, chemical trade secrets and the size of fines levied on the industry.
The comments came from among the 175 present at an Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ public hearing on fracking last night at Rend Lake College in Ina. A six-member panel listened to a range of public comments about the IDNR’s proposed fracking regulations.
Karen Genet of Hardin County told the panel fracking would threaten her rural way of life, and jeopardize tourism at places like Garden of the Gods and Cave-In-Rock.
“The industrialization of southern Illinois will be a death blow to our way of life and it will be the squandering of one of the last wild places in the Midwest for the sake of short term, short sighted fossil fuel gluttony,” she said.
Jonathon Hallberg is the executive director of the South Central Illinois Regional Planning & Development Commission. He proposed a road upgrade and maintenance agreement at the public hearing as part of the traffic management plan that is part of the permitting process.
“One of the biggest elements involved in this is transport of water to and from the fracturing site,” he said.
That takes a heavy toll on roads that aren’t built for that kind of traffic. He says this sort of agreement helps equip small communities with the tools they need to assure minimal damage.
IDNR will hold three more public hearings, including one on Thursday in Effingham and one in Carbondale on December 19. The public comment period closes on January 3.