Letter to the Illinois General Assembly opposing expansion of fracking

May 28, 2013
Illinois General Assembly
Illinois State Capitol
Springfield, IL
Dear Members of the Illinois General Assembly,
With great alarm, we, the undersigned—your neighbors in Wisconsin, Iowa, and
Minnesota—are watching as the Illinois General Assembly considers a regulatory bill
that would serve to open your state up to large-scale, high volume hydraulic
fracturing, or fracking.
Although we do not live atop oil- or gas-containing shale, we do live in communities
situated atop vast deposits of silica sand, which are a necessary ingredient in the
fracking process. (Prized for its unsurpassed strength, silica sand is used to prop open
the cracks so created when high volumes of high-pressure water and chemicals
fracture the shale. With the cracks held open by grains of sand, the gas can flow out.)
Silica sand is the agent of fracking, and it is a limiting agent. The gas and oil industry
go to great lengths to obtain sufficient quantities. The sand rush that accompanies the
gas rush is, in our experience, a direct menace to our communities. www.ccc-wis.com
We are suffering greatly from the industrial strip-mining and processing of silica sand
that has been the direct consequence of the ongoing shale gas boom in this nation.
Our communities, our land, and our health are in the process of being literally
destroyed by it. We beg you to declare a moratorium on fracking in Illinois, as we
are sure that, should you move forward with this regulatory bill and open your stateto
large-scale fracking, the demand for frac sand will increase further, along with the price—
and thus along with the pressure on our own political leaders to escalate further the
devastating practice of frac sand mining and processing.
While sand and gravel mining have long been part of our local economies, we have
never before witnessed the removal of vast quantities of this specialized silica or
quartz sand at this scale, scope, and intensity. The demand for frac sand is literally
changing the contours of our surroundings. The hills, ridges, and bluffs themselves
are or will be vanishing as over 120 mines are opened or in various stages of permit
With this letter, we also bring direct knowledge to the people and legislators of
Illinois about sand mining, which will almost certainly take place along your own
rivers and bluffs should you create a permissive environment for the oil and gas
industry. Your regulations for fracking do not extend to the attendant process of frac
sand mining—with which there are associated many dangers.
First, industrial strip mining for frac sand threatens our ground- and surface water
supplies. Strip mining for frac sand turns rural areas into vast moonscapes. Erosion
caused by physical disturbance of the land itself as well as the migration of pollutants
from the chemical processing of the sand threaten to pollute our aquifers. Also, highcapacity
wells used by the mining operations and during processing threaten to
deplete ground and surface water that we need for drinking, farming, and recreation.
Second, frac sand mining is damaging the quality of our air. Fleets of diesel trucks run
constantly on rural roads, as a single mine and processing plant is serviced by
hundreds of truck trips per day. Even worse is silica dust, which is both a proven lung
carcinogen and a cause of the disabling and often fatal disease, silicosis. Wisconsin’s
Department of Natural Resources admits that airborne silica is a carcinogen but does
not require monitoring for it in our communities. They have not established a
standard that would protect human health. Silica dust from freshly fractured sand
formations is more toxic than silica found in naturally weathered soil.
Third, massive sand mining operations are jeopardizing wildlife habitat and natural
resources. Clear-cutting, open-pit mining, and hilltop removal are all part of frac sand
mining. As hills and bluffs are loaded into trucks and hauled away, our landscape is
disappearing, and the water cycle itself is being altered. Of course, our hills and the
sand deposits of which they are made are not replaceable.
Fourth, the dramatic increase in heavy truck and rail traffic make safety and traffic
congestion a huge problem. Also, the heavy hauling causes road damage, interferes
with tourism and recreation, and generates costs for local taxpayers. The unrelenting
noise of blasting, traffic, rail cars, dangerous intersections at rail sites, and vibrations
are also health threats.
Fifth, our property values are sinking. All the mines, haul routes, processing plants,
and rail spurs can reduce property values by 30 percent. Meanwhile, this industry
provides us few local jobs, even as it destroys farmland.
As your neighbors, we stand together with citizens in your great state of Illinois who
also do not want an economy dependent on the boom and bust cycle of extractive
mining and drilling. The jobs provided by both frac sand mining and horizontal
fracking are temporary and toxic. We invite you to visit our altered communities and
tour our sand mines, processing plants and trans-load stations. Let us show you the
open trucks, rail cars and barges, with silica dust flying off them into our
neighborhoods. We will gladly share information with you. We beg you, however, to
declare a moratorium on hydraulic fracking until you do.
Patricia J. Popple Chippewa Falls, WI www.ccc-wis.com
Jim Gurley, Winona, MN Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining
Steve Schild, Winona, Minnesota, member of CASM (Citizens Concerned about Sand
Mining. I have seen the damage done to previously beautiful rural areas in western
Wisconsin, and I'd hate to see similar damage occur elsewhere.)
Greg Gaut, Winona, MN, Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining
Doug Nopar, Winona, MN, Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining
Nettie Rosenow, Buffalo County,WI
Andrew Werthman, Eau Claire County, WI
Jennifer Linse, Eau Claire County, WI
Blake Bichanich, Eau Claire County, WI
Lois Linse, Eau Claire County, WI
Carol Gehl, Chippewa County, WI
Henry Boschen, Chippewa County, WI
Jeanne Nutter, Trempealeau County, WI
Jody McIlrath,Frontenac MN 55026
Eric Nelson, Winona MN, Citizens Concerned about Silica Sand Mining (CASM.
I support a moratorium on frac sand mining in Illinois, and, if mining proceeds,
restrictions on mines 1/2 mile of streams and springs.)
Kimberlee Wright, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Madison, WI
Dwayne Mettner, Chippewa County, WI
Katie Mettner, Chippewa County, WI
Kelley Stanage, Houston County, MN
Charles Avila, Houston County, MN
Linda Mossman, Whitehall, WI Save Our Town Whitehall
Rebecca Pierce, WI
Cheryl L. Miller, Dunn County, WI, Save the Hills Alliance, Inc.
Donna Buckbee, Houston County Protectors, Houston County, MN
Joan Schnabel, Fountain City, WI Buffalo County Defenders
Jeff Falk, Fountain City, WI, Buffalo County Defenders
Irene Pruzek, Chippewa County, WI
Irv Balto, WI
Lisa Herrmann, Eau Claire, WI
Cherie Hales, Winona, MN, Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining,
Jim Dickerson, Eau Claire, WI
Julie Dickerson, Eau Claire, WI
Alan Muller, Energy & Environmental Consulting, Red Wing, MN
Kelvin Rodolfo, Viroqua, WI, Pheasant Walk Permaculture
Christine Yellowthunder, Eau Claire County, WI
Barbara Thomas, Dunn County, WI (born, reared, graduated from high school and
college, and married in Illinois)
Karen Kormann, St. Paul MN and Pepin County, WI
Mary Lee Hegnauer, Trempealeau County, WI
Peggy McAloon, Dunn County, WI
Mike McAloon, Dunn County, WI
Sarah Joy Wexler-Mann, Houston, MN - Houston County Protectors (HCP)
Daniel Drazkowski, Houston, MN - Houston County Protectors (HCP)
Al Gedicks, Executive Secretary, Wisconsin Resources Protection Council
Kristen Eide-Tollefson, MN
Pat McKearn, Chippewa Co., WI
Martha Munger, Eau Claire Co., WI
Aisha Gomez, Minneapolis, MN, Women's Environmental Institute
Nancy Bergman, Whitehall, WI
Darlene C. Berry, Marshfield, WI 54449
Renee Goneau, Minneapolis, MN, Houston County Protectors (HCP)
Joe Morse; Winona, MN, Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining
Leslie Hittner, Winona, MN, Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining
Glory Adams, Eau Claire County, WI
Marie Anderson, Fairchild, WI
Cynthia A White, Eau Claire, WI
Princess Cramer-Drazkowski, Winona, MN, Winona County
Chris Kees Winkler, Eau Claire County, WI
Helen Kees, Eau Claire County, WI
Robert Kees, Eau Claire County, WI
Daniel Simpson, Eau Claire County, WI
Diane Simpson, Eau Claire County, WI
Paul Simpson, Eau Claire County, WI
Kate Simpson, Eau Claire County, WI
Craig Thompson, Winona MN, Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining
Rose Gurley, Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining (CASM) and
Land Stewardship of Minnesota.
Jacque Daniel, Chippewa County, WI
Dr. Jim Brown, Monroe County, WI
Pat Tieskoetter, Red Wing, MN
Tracy Sides, PhD, MPH, owner, Bravely Be www.bravelybe.com, St. Paul, MN
Elizabeth Campbell, Minneapolis, MN, Women's Environmental Institute
Dayle Schechter, Citizens Energy Task Force, La Crosse, Wisconsin
Mary & Vic Price, Fall Creek, WI
Tom and Kathleen Bibus, Red Wing, MN
Jan Zmuda Charles, Fall Creek, WI
Donna Brogan, MN
Marge Peacock, Cataract WI, Frac Sand Mining Awareness
Frank Bures, Winona, MN, Citizens Concerned About Sand Mining (CASM)
Margaret Olsen, Galesville, WI.
Jackie Baker, Houston, MN, Houston County Protectors (HCP)
Cory Baker, Houston, MN, Houston County Protectors (HCP)
Joel and Maryanne Eigner, Fall Creek, WI.
Gaylord Oppegard, Jackson County, WI
Chloe Major, Eau Claire, WI
Tom and Susan Dahl, Eau Claire County, WI
Suellen Hageness, Fall Creek, WI
Liz Reach, Winona, MN, Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining
Dan Hannon, Jackson County, WI
Mary Dubiel, Trempealeau County, WI
Roy Austin, Trempealeau County, WI
Cheryl Austin, Trempeauleau County, WI
Juliee Wendland, Kickapoo Earthday, Terra Collaborative-Driftless Area, WI
Mary Coughlan, Trempealeau County, WI
Karen Hannon, Jackson County, WI
Deforest Area Progressives, Windsor, WI 53598.
Elizabeth A. Temple, Deforest Area Progressives, Deforest, WI 53532
Dale and Carole Crisler, Barron County, WI
Jackson County Citizens Voices, Jackson County, WI
Yvonne Krogstad, Spring Grove, MN, Houston County Protectors
Paul Hoff, Eau Claire, Wi 54701
Russ and Jan Blair, Chippewa Falls, WI
Pete Jeffers, Chippewa County, Wi
Kim Jeffers, Chippewa County, WI
Jane Schley, Eau Claire County, WI
Debra M. Pautz, Stoughton Wisconsin Citizens
Jim and Ila Drost, Stillwater, MN
Cathy A. Kerska, Trempealeau County, WI
Mary Sanderson, De Forest WI 53532
Ron Koshoshek, Chippewa County, WI
Lenny and Sharon Shier, Chippewa County, WI
Toni Yeske, Mindoro, WI/MN CASM
Bruce Kuehmichel Caledonia, MN, Houston County Protectors of Houston County,
Mary Ann O'Donahue, Eau Claire County, WI
Terry O'Donahue, Eau Claire County, WI
Sarah Miles, Winona, MN (CASM)
Barb Flom, Dunn County, WI
Julie Hanvold, Trempealeau County, WI
Katie Roelofs, Trempealeau County, WI
Nancy Stellflue, Trempealeau County, WI
Roxanne Smothers, Trempealeau County, WI
Pat Myers, Trempealeau County, WI
Rick Hudson, Trempealeau County, WI
Steve Stendahl, Trempealeau County, WI
Delaine Stendahl, Trempealeau County, WI
Gloria Lewis CPIM,CSCP, La Crosse WI
Judy Smriga, Trempealeau County, WI
Donna Martin, Chippewa County, WI
Dale & Sheryl Shipman, Chippewa County, WI
Dale V. Schauer, Winona MN, Concerned Citizens About Sand Mining
Ray Hilfiker, Eau Claire, WI
Tricia Runningen, Houston, MN, Houston County Protectors
Mike Gruber, Eau Claire County, WI
Brenda Gruber, Eau Claire County, WI
Daniel Gruber, Eau Claire County, WI
Karen Osborne Pope, Madison WI (Illinois native)
Dean and Patti Granros, Chippewa County, WI
Ken and Laurie Schmitt, Chippewa County, WI
Mary and Jeff Abbas, New Albin, Iowa
Allamakee County Protectors, Iowa
Hein Bloem, Houston. MN, Houston County Protectors
Winston Kaehler, Red Wing, MN
Ann E. Fleischli, Madison, WI
Carol Schimmel, Waupaca County, WI
Bev Schultz, Chippewa Falls, WI, Concerned Chippewa Citizens
John Hegge, Trempealeau County, WI
Mary Kenosian, Eau Claire, WI
Heather Anderson, Chippewa County, WI
Jane Justesen, Eau Claire County, WI
Edie Ehlert, Ferryville, WI, Crawford Stewardship Project
Ruth Cronje, Eau Claire County, WI
Cheryl Breitung, Barron County, WI
Endira Leti, Rushford, MN
Laura Menefee, Eau Claire County, WI
Frank K. Koehn, Ashland, WI
John Hardin, Barron County, WI
Sigurd W. Anderson, Lake City, MN, Frac Sand Mining Study Group
Janice Lindquist, Barron County, WI
Ellen T. Brown, Saint Paul, MN
Marie Kovesci, Winona, MN
Joe Kruse, Minneapolis, MN, the Catholic Worker
Nancy Burritt, Dunn County, WI
Jim Burritt, Dunn County, WI
Nicole Foss, Dunn County, WI
Jake Foss, Dunn County, WI
Gail Merk, Dunn County, WI
Dick Aukema, Dunn County, WI
Myrt Aukema, Dunn County, WI
Brad Burritt, Dunn County, WI
Barb Burritt, Dunn County, WI
Mark Lamm, Dunn County, WI
Ardyth Krause, Dunn County, WI
Jamie Harper, Winona, MN
Jamie Schell, Winona, MN
Barbara Ann Zanzig, Madison, WI
Angela Maki Jones, Minneapolis, MN
Renee Goneau, Minneapolis, MN