Illinois ‘Ban Fracking’ Rally Was a Colossal Bust
“Listen to the Many Not the Money.”
That was one of the messages scrawled on a protester’s sign Monday at Rep. John Bradley’s office in Marion. The irony was not lost on the media in attendance.
More than 2,400 members of the anti-fracking movement were invited via social media and other networking sites to participate in the protest of Bradley’s attempt to end the delays on fracking in Illinois. It was a part of a statewide “day of action” against shale development.
According to the groups’ Facebook invite, eighty-two said they were going to go. Fewer than two dozen actually showed up. So much for the “many.”
In fact, there were just as many hydraulic fracturing supporters present as those from the self-described “fracktivist” movement.
The lack-luster turnout of “ban fracking” activists further illustrates what has become more and more obvious: The Illinois anti-fracking movement is a small, fringe coalition that has managed to garner unwarranted media attention, all by working the system and manipulating numbers. This fact is further amplified by the presence of a “Ban Fracking Now” sign distributed by Food & Water Watch, an out-of-state group that is known for masquerading as local anti-fracking groups across the United States.
The truth behind the anti-fracking movement was never so blatantly clear as it was in front of Representative Bradley’s office, where the activists’ numbers distortion game was properly exposed.
These are the same groups that claimed Rep. Bradley’s recently proposed bill to expedite the long-delayed enactment of the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (IHFRA) was an attempt to silence “35,000 voices,” even though the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has acknowledged that the thousands of comments it received boil down to only 140 issue areas.
The evidence points unequivocally to the fact that the few — not the “many” — participated in the commenting process.
In a failed effort to hype its statewide “day of action” against hydraulic fracturing, the anti-fracking movement tried to leverage the fact that June 16 was the 156th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s “A House Divided” speech, which called out the injustice of slavery.
That’s right. The anti-frackers’ were equating Rep. Bradley’s endeavor to move shale development forward and jumpstart Southern Illinois’ sluggish economy to the oppressive injustice of the institution of slavery. With rhetoric like this, it’s little wonder that our “House” is actually not divided. The IHFRA passed both the House and Senate by an overwhelming 160-12 combined, bipartisan vote more than a year ago.
The only relevant anniversary this week with regard to the Illinois fracking debate is today (June 17) — despite the anti-shale development movement’s shameless attempt to align itself with another historical event. Exactly one year ago, Gov. Pat Quinn signed IHFRA into law, and thousands of residents across Illinois are still waiting for the jobs.