Due to Radiation Exposure, Don’t Frack in Illinois, etc.

by Duane Nichols on June 26, 2017

Shales are radioactive in Illinois

Groups warn of radiation exposure associated with fracking

From an Article by Barb Eidlin, The Southern, Carbondale, Illinois, June 22, 2017

CARBONDALE — Concerned citizens and opponents of the controversial oil and gas extraction method commonly known as fracking met Wednesday night at the Carbondale Township offices to discuss the risks of radioactive exposure associated with the extraction process.

The gathering was prompted by the recent application for a High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing permit applied for by Woolsey Operating Company, LLC, HVHHF.

The event was hosted by Illinois Green Party and Southern Illinoisans Against Fracking.

Rich Whitney, Vice-Chairman of the Illinois Green Party and S.A.F.E Steering committee member for said that to the best of their ability, the groups had determined that the location of the well site proposed by the permit is a few miles northwest of Enfield in White County.

Whitney said that the extraction process is a potential public health hazard.

“In addition to the chemical contamination of the environment and the proven link between earthquakes and injecting waste fluids deep underground under high pressure, the process also comes with a risk of exposure to radioactive elements.”

According to Whitney, studies show that naturally occurring radioactive materials are present in unusually high quantities in Southern Illinois shale.

During drilling and fracking operations, when elements like radium, uranium, thorium or other radioactive elements are present in the sediment or rocks that contain oil and gas, they will be brought to the surface as drill cuttings or in the drilling fluid, known as drilling mud, circulating up from the drill bit.

Whitney cited a 2014 study published in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives that shows that consuming radium in drinking water can cause lymphoma, bone cancer and leukemia. It also states that radium also emits gamma rays which raise cancer risk from external exposures.

A 1997 U.S. Geological Survey of oilfield production sites in White county found that 7 out of 9 of the sites they surveyed were judged to have “high radioactivity.”

“If you look at what has been happening in recent years in Pennsylvania and North Dakota, the radioactive contamination coming out of those wells has been a disaster for those communities,” Whitney said.

According to Whitney, a 2006 Duke University study shows that radioactive contaminates have “gotten all over” the well sites and some of the waste disposal sites.

Additionally, he said, illegal dumping has led to radioactive contaminates in municipal dump sites. “That’s not to say that this is going to happen in Illinois, but the company has a foot in the door, and so people need to start educating themselves. We don’t want Illinois to be turned into a state wide Superfund site.”

Whitney also said that radioactive oil and gas waste is exempt from most federal regulations on radioactivity, and that the regulations adopted in Illinois roughly three years ago are mainly concerned with testing for radioactivity.

They say nothing about what companies must do if hazardous levels of radioactive emissions are detected.

Additionally, Whitney said, there is no regulation to test work areas for levels of radioactivity that would call for OSHA standards of occupational safety, and no provision for workers to wear radiation detection badges or devices.

Whitney said that the volume of waste from fracking will be far higher that from conventional drilling sites since the length of the wells can be over a mile long.

This means that hazardous radioactive elements being brought to the surface will also be proportionally greater that in conventional drilling.

If a Woolsey’s permit is approved, a public hearing will be held at the Enfield United Methodist Church Family Life Center, Corner of West Main and South Jennette St., in Enfield from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on July 5, 2017.

Information about the organizations opposing fracking can be found at the Shawnee Green Party Facebook page, or the S.A.F.E. website at:

Don’t Fracture Illinois

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Illinois Update June 27, 2017 at 12:19 pm

First permit application revives ‘fracking’ debate in Illinois

By Tim Landis, The State Journal-Register (Springfield, Ill.), June 26, 2017

The first application for a drilling permit has renewed the fracking debate in Illinois four years after the controversial practice was approved.

Woolsey Companies Inc., based in Wichita, Kan., is seeking permission to drill a mile-deep well near the southeastern Illinois community of Enfield, in White County. A second public comment period on the application is expected after the Illinois Department of Natural Resources found a well-location error in the original filing in May. The application is the first since then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed the state “fracking” law in June 2013.

Regulations were not finalized until November 2014 following an extended fight involving the department, environmentalists and energy companies.

DNR spokesman Tim Schweizer said Monday that Woolsey has indicated the application would be resubmitted with the corrected well location and other project details sought by the agency.

“They are going to resend the application, and that restarts the clock,” said Schweizer. “Other than that, it’s gone pretty smoothly.”

In addition to correcting the location, the department has asked for more information on the operations plan, management of fracking chemicals, well safety and containment measures, traffic management at the site, restoration and topsoil preservation and project security bonds.

Woolsey vice president of business development Mark Sooter said company officials expected the process to take time, especially since Woolsey is the first to apply in Illinois.

“We plan on going forward with the permitting process,” said Sooter. “There are 27 different forms and plans you have to submit, and there were some things we need to correct.”

Fracking has been slow to take off in Illinois as a result of low oil prices that have made it hard for companies to justify the investment in land, equipment, regulatory approval and drilling rights. Fracking relies on high-pressure liquids to release oil and natural gas by fracturing deep-earth shale formations. Woolsey was one of three companies to register for fracking in Illinois after the law was passed. One withdrew voluntarily, and the remaining company has not filed for a permit.

Sooter said, while oil prices remain low, the company concluded there was sufficient potential in White County to file for a drilling permit. He added that results of the first well would determine whether the company seeks approval for more.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and effort and money,” said Sooter. “Once we get the well drilled, it’ll give us a lot better idea of the potential, which we’re confident is good.”

A 30-day public comment period begins seven days after an application is submitted under state rules. Another 15 days are allowed for comments on testimony at the public hearing. DNR has 60 days from the time the application is submitted — including the public comment periods — to make a decision, unless the company asks for an extension.The public comment period on the original application ends Tuesday.

Opponents, meanwhile, have begun preparing their case against the permit.

“This caught us off guard,” said Dawn Dannenbring, environmental coordinator for Illinois Peoples Action. The Bloomington-based community action group fought for a fracking moratorium before the Illinois rules were approved.

Dannenbring said studies of fracking since the Illinois law was enacted show the practice is an even greater threat to water and the environment than first thought. “Those studies come from all over the world. It’s not just here,” said Dannenbring. “We have a number of comments, based on the current application, ready to go.”

She said fracking opponents also remain concerned about the Illinois approval process, including disclosure of the toxic chemicals used in fracking. “These things happen way too fast,” said Dannenbring. “It’s up to the public to be daily checking the (online application) site and to be ready.”


• Gov. Pat Quinn signed hydraulic fracturing legislation — also known as “fracking” — in June 2013, but regulations were not finalized until November 2014.

• Three energy development companies registered under the new rules, Woolsey Companies Inc. of Wichita, Kan.; Strata X Energy of Denver; and Kimmeridge Tri-State Exploration of New York.

• A permit application filed by Woolsey last month for a site in southeastern Illinois is pending; Strata X Energy voluntarily withdrew its registration, while Kimmeridge has not filed for a permit.


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