Inaugurating the Sacrifice Zone
by Georgia de la Garza
Alarming rates of change of our geological era are mostly cause and effect of human deed. The denial of this participatory history is vastly destroying our very existence. According to the leaked, 127 page “Synthesis Report”, from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history,” the report continues to state, “The climate changes that have already occurred have had widespread and consequential impacts on human and natural systems.”
Not to be released until this month, after the UN conference in Copenhagen and still could be revised, the report uses a macabre narrative compared to the last three released from global summits which have been held in this past year. Extreme high heat temperatures with massive drought, coastal flooding due to sea levels rising, flooding from pounding rains, economic damage, food insecurity, extinction of species, civil wars and rampant poverty will occur if “swift action is not taken”.
In the report, “swift action”, means to immediately stop emitting carbons that come from burning fossil fuel. With global emissions spreading like the “Blob”, we will reach a critical level in 20 to 30 years of irreversible climate change. Many of us have accepted the reality we are in the “here and now” as we experience our homelands destroyed not only by the extractive industries, but by surviving “natural” disasters by “unnatural” weather changes and witnessing from afar, globally devastating disasters.
Imagine ten years from now.
Illinois has been a diligent culprit in the global demise of our sustainability and now, our taskmasters are having us dig our graves exponentially. The deals have been made, the government agencies, big greens, and a few scientists have been suborned into being willing participants. The Land of Lincoln is soon to be penetrated and raped for its rich resources to fill the bellies of the fossil fuel industries. The few get richer and we get sicker, left without clean water to drink, without clean air to breathe, without clean soil to grow our food supply.
We have before us a schemed wasteland.
Statistics show we are “ripe for the picking”. In January of 2013 the Social Impact Research Center reported 1.9 million Illinoisans live below the federal poverty line. That is 33% living in or near poverty, a 3.1% increase since 2007. The Center claims the scale and conditions of poverty demonstrate it is “the most pressing social issue facing our state and nation”. We rank the 39th highest state for unemployment at 6.8% with Mississippi being the highest at 8% released in a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in July of this year.
These reports are hard to swallow when you read the Preamble of the Illinois State Constitution:
We the people of the State of Illinois-grateful to almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing upon our endeavors-in order to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; assure legal, social and economic justice; provide opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; insure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and liberty to ourselves and our posterity-do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois.
Maybe our lawmakers missed class this day. Maybe we have allowed ourselves to be colonized and kept in dire straits. Maybe they own stock in these corporations. Maybe they have voting rights in these corporations. Maybe they are the corporations.
One answer is clear.
Our lawmakers have bought out or sold out our health, safety, and welfare. They have escaped our State Constitution throwing it at us while we are dog paddling in a toxic slurry pit. As we try to keep our heads above the muck we are abandoned to destitute while watching the industries, like Hitler’s troops, marching in and attacking us to the tune of a Rammstein.
Three Eyed Fish
Illinois is called the home of nuclear energy of the United States. At the University of Chicago, under the stands of Stagg Field in December of 1942, Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard initiated the first atomic chain reaction in history. We also have the first and only commercial storage facility for high level waste, the GE Morris Operation.
Currently we have 11 nuclear power reactors at six nuclear power stations that generate 48.2 percent of the state’s electricity claiming they don’t emit greenhouse gases. The facilities claim to contribute $470 million to the local economy, and employ 4,900 with an annual payroll of $400 million and pay more than $117 million in state and local taxes. Although, recent reports claim cheap natural gas and Illinois’ new wind power are diminishing nuclear power’s profits by driving down the price of electricity. Rumors of plant closings were circulating early this year.
Enter Mike Madigan’s bill H1146: a pro-nuke resolution supporting the coal industry by creating more power plants and keeping ones that are no longer profitable in operation. Obviously, this bill is not just a pro-nuke resolution, but designed to squeeze renewable energy out of Illinois and keep the coal industry growing. Wonder who let Madigan tee off on the golf course first, ALEC or Exelon?
Living on the New Madrid and Wabash seismic zones, we potentially will be living in Illshima. Japanese citizens warned Tepco not to build reactors in an earthquake zone. Tepco not only built the reactors but ignored consistent safety warnings and allowed business as usual knowing there were defects.
Under Madigan’s regime, no one is listening to us either.
Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) states they have the nation’s most comprehensive monitoring system. Good for them-it doesn’t stop the leaks and accidents from happening or solve nuclear waste disposal. If a nuclear accident were to happen IEMA’s website suggest you call your local police at (911) and stay away from infected item/area. I would like to know how people in Japan had the time to stop and call their emergency line or how many had communication ability. I would like to have confidence that our Andy’s and Barney’s have been trained for such a disaster, but I don’t.
Thank you, “NUCLEAR IS OUR NEW RENEWABLE ENERGY”, program for supporting yet another coal boom in Illinois. This boom might be our biggest in history. No doubt, the coal industry has been in decline year after year with the industry blaming tough regulations while others believe it to be the destruction the coal mining process wreaks on the environment.
Burning coal produces almost 14 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year which is released into the atmosphere mostly from power generation. “Clean Coal” Technologies, Carbon Capture & Sequestration are technologies being addressed, but this technology will not erase our carbon footprint. The cost of achieving low, and eventually “near-zero”, emissions is economically challenging and impossible. Come on really-new scrubber technology equals clean coal?
In southern Illinois, coal companies are circling like vultures the second biggest coal basin in the U.S., also one of the dirtiest.
According to a law suit filed July 3rd in Saline County in Harrisburg, Illinois, Murray Energy Corp., owned by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert E. Murray, is suing Foresight Energy LP (FELP), owned by Chris Cline. (Murray Energy Corp. v. Williamson Energy LLC, 14-MR-25, First Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, Saline County). Williamson Energy is one of the coal mining complexes owned by Foresight. Murray, one of the largest independent operators of coal mines in the United States, claims Williamson Energy used information intended to be confidential to buy mineral rights and property that run through the middle of Murray’s longwall mining operations in southern Illinois.
While Murray and Cline have the boxing gloves on and are diving into coal gluttony, Peabody Energy, the world’s largest, private sector mining operation, has been busy little decepticons working on their heinous 30 year plan.
According to the “Transformers” (one of my son’s favorite movies) page:
“The Decepticons are a malevolent race of robot warriors, brutal and merciless. The Decepticons are led by a single undeviating goal: total domination of the universe. They are typically concerned with such things as conquering Cybertron, defeating the Autobots, amassing large quantities of energon, developing powerful weaponry, and beating people up. Not necessarily in that order.”
From our experience organizing and standing up with residents of Rocky Branch, there is no better description. Rocky Branch, a Saline County community, is trying to save their homes and lives, (not exaggerating), from the ravages of Peabody.
Peabody you need to stop using “We are good neighbors!” Not working!
This isn’t mentioning other coal companies mining in southern Illinois. Franks Mining Company in Mitchellville is a good example of a mom and pop operation. More like a Ma and George Barker mining operation. Most of the residents in this community are suffering from illnesses, stress, gutters dripping with diesel, black dust on everything in their homes, the list is very long in Mitchellville.
Let’s appeal to your senses.
Many of us have blasting 300 feet from our homes with lights and loud, very loud, machinery running all night long. Ear plugs and soothing noise machines don’t work. Most of us are living in communities surrounded by mountains of coal waste product, impoundment structures full of toxic water, sick from respiratory illnesses, cancers, and land that is no longer farmable. We try to live in peace in our homes full of noise from hundreds of coal trucks speeding by, running and killing us off our roads. Yes, there are traffic tickets issued-to the dead. We have been bullied from our homes, lost graves of family members, lost our own lives, and have watched as our homeland is forever changed.
We are stuck in the paradigm of the revolving coal mining culture and have been waiting in the cheese lines for up north to look beyond the rich reserves of coal, oil, and gas and recognize there are actual human beings living down south. We keep hearing how the coal boom will benefit Illinois the most because of our abundance of resources. Coal booms have always abandoned us on the front lines with high unemployment rates and high percentages of poverty.
I have attended Saline County Board meetings where locals have literally cried out for a fair property tax or at the very least a severance tax to the coal companies. Saline County residents are the 7th highest in Illinois for property taxes and have 27% of our state’s coal resources.
Most of our coal leaves the country and profits go to out of state CEO’s like Gregory Boyce of Peabody Energy reportedly taking a pay cut ending with a salary of $9.5 million not including stock performance units and stock options nor car, driver, and personal flights on the company jet. Add Bob Murray’s and Chris Cline’s salary and extras.
Consider our local coal miner’s salary, $50-70 thousand a year, working in high risk jobs left with the inevitable black lung and a future where benefits are not secure. Doesn’t seem fair they have to pay higher property tax on their homes to cover rubble infrastructure caused mainly from the coal industry and, also, pay government officials making the decision to keep them in this position while slaving to keep Boyce in a private jet. With so many other variables, this formula far from adds up!
While we have been struggling from the aftermath of the last coal boom, we missed the opportunity to be a leader in the U.S. bringing in safe and sustainable jobs with renewable energy industry. Coal miners are always asking me at hearings or meetings, they are forced to show up at, “When are we going to bring in safe jobs because we sure are ready to work them.”
The south seems to always be pushed aside waiting in slavery, bound by our paradigm.
Gov. Pat Quinn visited southern Illinois recently and announced a $4.5 million investment to develop an Emergency and Critical Response Center at Southern Illinois Airport in Carbondale.
The announcement is perfect timing if the frivolous Regulatory Act for High Volume Hydraulic Horizontal Fracturing is accepted and HVHF begins. Fracking is a gas-extraction process in which highly pressurized fluids are pumped into the ground to release trapped fuel deposits. I like using the word frivolous. It’s a word the industry, big greens, and chosen scientist used in the original narrative of the Regulatory Act.
The question will be if the Emergency and Critical Response Center along with other medical personnel at local emergency rooms are trained to treat a situation which immediately poses a threat to a person’s health or even life without knowing what chemical or other toxin the patient has been exposed to. http://www.dangersoffracking.com/
Environmental Health Perspectives, published a study this year, “Proximity to Natural Gas Wells and Reported Health Status: Results of a Household Survey in Washington County, Pennsylvania,” reporting that people who live one kilometer from a frack site were more likely to have ill health effects than someone living two kilometers away.
With most of the rapidly growing fracking wells being fairly new, researchers fear of health issues popping up in the future. As in the Parr family case in Texas and many families in Pennsylvania, they already have.
Over the past year, experts studied the frequency of reported skin, respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and neurological symptoms. There was an increase in skin and respiratory symptoms but not the later of those living near gas wells.
Researchers stated, “One would not yet expect to see associations with diseases with long latency, such as cancer. Furthermore, if some of the impact of natural gas extraction on ground water happens over a number of years, this initial survey could have failed to detect health consequences of delayed contamination.”
Fractracker reported more than 1.1 million active fracked wells in 36 states, took approximately 4.4 million gallons of water. Other fracks reported 2-4 million gallons of water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported 70 to 140 billion gallons of water are used to frack 35,000 wells in the U.S. each year comparing it to the water consumption of 40 to 80 cities each with a population of 50 thousand. This report was released in 2010. Let’s think about the inrush of the natural gas boom the last two years and realize these numbers have to be even more outrageous today.
Methane concentrations were 17 times higher in drinking-water wells located near fracking sites, compared to other wells, according to a study by Duke University.
Considering California to Pennsylvania residents have to truck water in from lack of safe water to no water, do we really want the dewatering of our water aquifers for drinking or the ecological impacts to our aquatic resources to wither from extracting so much water for fracking? I worry for a lost ecotourism opportunity with our rich resources of fish and wildlife, organic farm movement, and our richly producing vineyards.
Think about the estimated 1,400 truck trips to transport 2-5 million gallons of fresh or frack waste water. Combine this number with the coal mining trucks we now have on our roads with more being added from the coal boom. Its impossible communities won’t be left with crumbled road repair issues without the monies to rebuild. We already have struggling counties and townships trying to pay for road repairs.
Toxic air quality, water contamination, deforestation, ruined soil, chemical and coal truck accidents are a few of the tangibles we have now from the coal industry. How are we to bare the natural gas, oil, pipelines, and nuclear moving in?
The oil and gas industries’ tobacco media teams can try to spin the frequently reported bad news coming from the fracking world. Illnesses, induced earthquakes, radioactive waste water, air pollution, water contamination, job myths, domestic violence, drugs, STDs, are all part of a growing list. Evidence proves they are directly attributed to the fracking industry.
Oops! There must have been a hole!
How will JCAR the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules explain they have approved a foolproof condom when their time is up in considering the new and revised rules for the Regulatory Act for High Volume Hydraulic Horizontal Fracturing? They will be the Mama and Papa of the fracking disasters unless they kick it back to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The fact is, there is not one rule in the Regulatory Act that will stop any of the probabilities or variables of the dangers of fracking.
State Representative, Mike Bost, told our group, Shawnee Hills and Hollers, in a conversation this past spring at the State Capitol, he worked very hard on the rules and they were the strictest ever written. When asked how we are going to regulate an earthquake since we live on the New Madrid and Wabash faults, his answer was mind boggling. “I’ll tell you how we’re gonna do it. We’re gonna get one of those seismic machines and put it next to a drill site. When the seismic machine starts going off we’ll stop drilling.”
For all of you who sat down at the table and participated in writing the rules for the Regulatory Act, you also, will be the parents of the disasters awaiting us.
The Smell of Green
As usual, southern Illinois is not considered in the campaign Governor Quinn brags about when he claims Illinois is moving toward renewables with wind and solar. I just visited the wind farms in the northwest of Illinois. Impressive, wish we had some of those on top of our mountains of coal waste product that don’t produce anything else except for toxins and a visual of a landscape from a bad Mars sci-fi movie.
After endorsing Governor Quinn recently, Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club’s Illinois chapter said, “Governor Quinn knows that protecting our environment is not only an important responsibility we all share, but also an effective way to create good jobs in the clean technologies of the future.”
This coming from one of the very responsible green organizations who sat willingly at the table negotiating the worthless Regulatory Act for High Volume Hydraulic Horizontal Fracturing and recently has been negotiating carbon tax and carbon trading.
Governor Quinn, Jack Darin and other “Big Green” organizations, who bed down, do not speak for us. We have been left without anything except for a voice and we are yelling: Lead your children to abstinence from fossil fuel! Bring us good, sustainable, safe jobs. Give us our right to clean water, soil, and air! Stop revolving and start evolving into renewables!
The Great Escape
Freedom will come from within at the moment we realize we must make the decision to become proactive in the paradigm shift. Don’t think this can be done at the voting booths. We look to the state of our country and to the streets to see our citizens standing up and know this oligarchy is not our choice. At the same time, we are responsible for allowing this system to continue.
Our taskmasters use fear appeal to convince us we must bind ourselves to slavery captured by our debt. Caught in the science of revolution we get sick, tired and hungry, rise up in civil resistance, fighting to advance toward renewed democracy. We only find the written words of our forefathers bring us back to their same colonist view, mirrored from Aristotle’s theory: from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.
We must step out of the revolving door, become fearless, and expose our no-account masters for their crimes! Then, we own freedom!
Documentation will be a saving grace when you go to court fighting for your right to health, safety, and welfare. When a government agency, lawmaker, or corporation tells you it is hard to prove that one of the industries in your backyard caused you to be sick or contaminated your water or cracked your foundation or devalued your property, you might just have the evidence of proof.
Participate with us in Illinois Fractured Follies. Do a five element check. Test your water-faucet, wells, ponds, streams, etc. Test your air quality. Test your soil. Check your health. Photograph your home, foundation, and chimney. Document, document, document!
Check out information for testing under Science. We are currently confirming the best labs to use that are certified and will hold up in court. If you need our team to help in documenting, contact us: email@example.com
The Wind in the Cedar Grove
–Barney Bush Poet
I heard you in the cedar grove on
Weideman Hill the break in the
universe of colonized earth
a break from the treacherous
perspective the one that controls
the economics the severe logic
the invented one
the one used to justify all the
murder land and people and
the rumors of how its all made
better than it was and that we
should be grateful that they are
destroying the earth with
adequate excuses for our
benefit and the betterment of the
lives of all our children
and their logic mesmerizes the
earth the economies the
music and electronics
the plethora of bad films and
genetically modified food
Human hair and duck feathers from
China converted to l-lyseine
conditioners for bread dough in
We ate squirrels tonight before
the lightning and thunder before
the pelting rain with sleet
We ate them baked instead of
fried and steamed in white gravy
Times change when you gain
too much weight Damn
No more bacon nor fat
pieces of beef nor fry bread or
sausage gravy and each of the
dozens of coal trucks passing our
offices cut through the soul and
blacken the highways and spray
the air and lungs with coal dust
Appalachian scenes revisited
If only they cared more for
good health if only they
cared for good water for clean
air for fertile earth simple
cares being strong in the heart
bringing courage home to the
holding partners close
enough to make their souls
ache for more
and making promises that
you work hard to keep like not
letting your mother die a slow
painful death in a nursing home
die trying for
the child that will come home
and remember what you did
It was the old voice the
doorway in the cedar grove
The presence of strong
hearts the absence of
earth and child destroying
factors keep such