How To Stop Illinois From Having Frackquakes

If the “Climate Killers” are going to force this fracking on us in IL then we must stop them from at least causing earthquakes. Here is the Frack Free Illinois list of recommendations for the rules for fracking, based on experts in the field of induced seismicity. These were sent to JCAR/IDNR to be incorporated into the rules in order to avoid and mitigate induced seismicity. To our knowledge this list did NOT make it into the rules but we wanted to make it public – will be watching for the rules to be published on Nov 14th in the Illinois Register.

A) All of these rules below would apply to both the shale oil and gas production wells and Class ll disposal wells, or much better defined; horizontal drilling with fracturing operations for oil and natural gas exploration, vertical wells for oil and natural gas that are fractured under high pressure, and Class ll disposal wells.

B) A “Seismic Active Zone Evaluation” fee should be attached to any well permit within 3 miles of the Active Earthquake Zones of the Wabash Valley, New Madrid and Cottage Grove. This would pay for the ILGS to map out and test faulted areas fully – as delineated in the below rules, before approving any permits – this fee could also be used to pay the “Team” in rule C.- It must be set very high because some of it will go to paying for equipment and staff to fully evaluate the earthquake areas, but the bulk of it could be put into a state fund for paying for any law suits, road damage, property damage, pollution mitigation, etc that will be necessary if the fracking industry messes up, or skirts the rules!

C) An “Active Earthquake Zone Evaluation Team” could be made up of scientific specialists, (independent contractors), who would make the final recommendation about whether a well permit should be allowed, which wells to be monitored more heavily, slowed, and/or stopped. This team could be made up of independent, university-based seismologists and geologists from around the country, who are actually studying induced seismicity – Frack Free Illinois could bring forth a list of names to be contacted. They could review the permits, the testing and seismic reports, and give consultations – we need to have highly trained eyes on these IL active seismic areas. The reports could be made public on the IDNR website within 2 days of receiving them. An “Active Earthquake Zone Evaluation Team” assisting the ILGS and the IDNR in their decisions for the active earthquake zones is a necessity, as already mentioned consisting of independent, university-based seismologists and geologists who are actively studying the issue of induced seismicity – it is a sub-specialty in the field. Mistakes made in the active earthquake zones would be devastating for our Southern and Central Illinois residents.

D) One seismic monitor must be placed on every well, (horizontal fracturing wells, vertical wells fractured under high pressure, and Class ll disposal wells – no exceptions – with real time data sent into the IDNR and for the public to view. All seismic monitoring required could have real time data fed to the IDNR, and up on the website – the data must be made public immediately to insure that the fracking industry not turn off any monitors. As per Prof. Jacob: The continuous data stream of the seismic recordings must be accessible to the public on-line in graphical, and to regulatory agencies in digital form. The data in conjunction with DAILY (not monthly !!) pressure and flow data from said well can then be used by regulators to manage any potential seismic hazards and risks associated with the disposal well operation, including limits to maximum operation pressure, maximum flow rates; or – if found necessary — temporary or permanent shut down of well operations.

Green light = ONE earthquake less than magnitude 1.0 within 15 miles from a well.

Yellow light = ONE magnitude 1 to 1.9 within 15 miles from a well (This would cause the 2-3-4 more seismic monitors to be placed within 5 miles of the well in question). We must have more monitoring when the earthquakes start happening – you are dealing with active earthquake zones and the National Seismic Monitoring System is NOT reliable throughout Southern IL – it only can pick up reliably 2.5 level earthquakes – that is not good enough.

Red light = ONE magnitude 2 or larger 15 miles from a well (This would stop a well.)

F) These rules for seismicity adopted in Ohio should be included – and also applied to all the wells listed in A:

Ohio will seek the following reforms to its Class II deep injection well program:
1) Requires a review of existing geologic data for known faulted areas within the state and avoid the locating of new Class II disposal wells within these areas;
2) Requires of a complete suite of geophysical logs (including, at a minimum, gamma ray, compensated density-neutron, and resistivity logs) to be run on newly drilled Class II disposal wells. A copy of the completed log, with analytical interpretation will be submitted to ODNR;
3) Evaluates the potential for conducting seismic surveys;
4) Requires operators to plug back with cement, prior to injection, any well drilled in Precambrian basement rock for testing purposes.
5) Requires the submission, at time of permit application, of any information available concerning the existence of known geological faults within a specified distance of the proposed well location, and submission of a plan for monitoring any seismic activity that may occur;
6) Requires a measurement or calculation of original downhole reservoir pressure prior to initial injection;
7) Requires conducting a step-rate injection test to establish formation parting pressure and injection rates;
8) Requires the installation of a continuous pressure monitoring system, with results being electronically available to ODNR for review;
9) Requires the installation of an automatic shut-off system set to operate if the fluid injection pressure exceeds a maximum pressure to be set by ODNR;
10) Requires the installation of an electronic data recording system for purposes of tracking all fluids brought by a brine transporter for injection

In March 2014 Ohio added:
11) New permits issued by ODNR for horizontal drilling within 3 miles of a known fault or area of seismic activity greater than a 2.0 magnitude would require companies to install sensitive seismic monitors. If those monitors detect a seismic event in excess of 1.0 magnitude, activities would pause while the cause is investigated. If the investigation reveals a probable connection to the hydraulic fracturing process, all well completion operations will be suspended. ODNR will develop new criteria and permit conditions for new applications in light of this change in policy. The department will also review previously issued permits that have not been drilled.

Plus recommendations from experts, Prof. Beiersdorfer/Prof. Jacob:
F) Requiring a sonic log in addition to the required gamma ray, compensated density-neutron, and resistivity logs. The sonic log can identify faults transected by the bore hole, the others can’t. This is important if the well drills through a fault plane. This was very relevant to the Youngstown injection well because the borehole penetrated about 200 feet into the basement rock and actually penetrated a fault. Normally, basement faults cannot be detected by any logs in the wells limited to the sedimentary layers.

G) Monitoring – we can NOT rely on the unreliable National Seismic Monitoring System, it can not pick up earthquakes below a 2.5 reliably throughout the active earthquake zones of Southern IL – so it is insufficient! (This rule applies to ALL Class ll disposal wells, within a fault zone or without!)

Supporting statements:

Prof. Beiersdorfer: Therefore a minimum recommendation is the installation of at least one initial seismometer near every well targeted for fracking or waste disposal should be required.

Prof. Jacob: It should be MANDATORY for every Class II waste disposal well that is actively used or about newly to be used to have at least one seismometer within (about) 5 miles of the well head installed and maintain it in reliable continuously operating condition. Once the seismometer detects seismicity with magnitudes of M = 1.5 or larger, at distances of less than 10 miles (that is with S-P wave arrival times of about 2 seconds or less) as measured from any portion of the well at or below ground, then within one month of such detection and array of at least 4 seismometers at distances out to 15 miles surrounding the well shall be installed. This number of seismometers (with a common time base within 1/100 of a second or better) is necessary to reliably locate the events and allows one instrument to temporarily fail and still obtain locatable hypocenter data of the seismic events.

Prof. Beiersdorfer: In Ohio activities will pause at a Magnitude 1.0 event. After England’s fracking-induced earthquakes, the cut-off was set at Magnitude 0.5. The seismic magnitude cut-offs in the Illinois traffic light approach (Green <2, Yellow 2 to 4, and Red >4) appear too high and are not restrictive enough to provide an appropriate level of public safety. For example, the observed seismicity due to fracking in the Horn River Basin of British Columbia, Canada were from Magnitudes 2.2 and 3.8 (British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, 2012) These quakes were strong enough to deform the well casings in the lateral portions of nearby wells. This would fall in the Illinois Yellow zone, which requires nothing mandatory until three such events, after which there would be a consultation. The Northstar 1 well in Youngstown was shut down on December 30, 2011 and was followed by a Magnitude 4.0 earthquake the next day, that caused damage to peoples’ homes. In his report, Dr. Kim of Columbia University concluded “that continued injection of fluid at Northstar 1 well could have triggered potentially large and damaging earthquakes.”

Prof. Jacob:
I would go with green as long as there is no event of M=1 and/or larger within 15 miles of the well.
I would go to yellow with at least one M=1 or larger within said distance
I would go to red if there is one or more M=2 or larger within said distance.

Another most important aspect is, that once seismic monitoring is established the data must be openly available to the public so they can verify instantly should they feel any seismicity, and of course must be available to the Illinois state agency overseeing the well activity. The technology to post real-time data on the web is readily and cheaply available and should be accessible via a website.

Below is a copy of the Frack Free Illinois suggestions, about the second draft rules, sent to JCAR and the IDNR, at the end of Sept, 2014, with newer notes in Italicized Bold based on the recommendations from the experts to date:

Section 240.796 Operating and Reporting Requirements, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations, Seismicity 20Rules%2062-240.pdf
a) Applicability
b) Definitions
“Induced Seismicity” means an earthquake event that is felt, recorded by the national seismic network, and attributable to a Class II UIC well used for disposal of flowback and produced fluid from high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations. (Section 1-96(a) of the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act)
Comment: This definition describes the need for earthquakes to be felt, (anywhere from 2-4 in magnitude). They also must be recorded by the national seismic network – but remember there is the lack of adequate monitoring in Southern Illinois. And no description of exactly how they are going to attribute a specific earthquake to a specific well.

This definition is in HFRA but the IDNR could add their own definition to the rules such as “Seismic Activity of Concern” which would mean seismic events picked up by any seismic monitoring, not necessarily having to be “felt”, and tied to any oil and gas related exploration, extraction or disposal activity.
c) Class II UIC Well Operations
When a well is suspected of triggering induced seismic activity, the permittee shall consult with the Department and ISGS to develop a plan for seismic monitoring, including the possibility of installing monitoring stations in the vicinity of the well and reduction in rate or pressures of fluid injected.
Comment: We object to requiring increase monitoring only when the earthquakes rise to the level of a 3-4 in strength, and only if it is picked up by the sparse monitoring stations in IL. It is irresponsible and reckless to wait until these triggers to discuss what kind of added monitoring will be required! Additional seismic monitoring in Southern Illinois should have been in the rules in the first place.

We know from the experts that ALL horizontal wells, vertical wells fractured under high pressure, and disposal wells throughout Illinois should be required to have at least 1 seismic monitor with real time data being transmitted to the IDNR and up on their website in real time.

To slow an injection well – It will take 3 earthquakes of 2.0 – 4.0

We know now this cut off should be at a level of one earthquake of magnitude 1 and that this should call for the addition of 4 other seismic monitors within at least 5 miles immediately.

Cessation of wells:
– 3 earthquakes of 2.0 – 4.0, and a notice of violation
– Any number of earthquakes of 2.0 – 4.0, and one 4.5 (Red) but there must be property damage
– 5 earthquakes of 2.0 – 4.0

We know now that these cutoffs are recklessly high.

Red Lights:
– An earthquake of over 4.0 and if well is 6 miles form the epicenter

Comment: These cutoffs are reckless in the active earthquake zones, if even one level 4 earthquake is induced that well should be shut down, even 1 of them in the active earthquake zones is a very bad sign. If the numbers of level 2 – 3 earthquakes starts to increase, (like two in a row), then immediately that well, if in the active earthquake zone, should be shut down. Remember just slowing a well down, or even shutting it down, does not necessarily stop the earthquakes, there have been Class ll wells in Ohio that were stopped completely and the induced seismicity continued for over 15 years!

We know now that this cutoff is recklessly high.

Please Take 4 Actions To Block Fracking in IL by Thurs, Nov 6th

The historic People’s Climate March in NYC drew the line – the climate scientists have told us that 80% of the known carbon reserves must stay in the ground or it is “game over” for the planet. The fracking industry is the new carbon polluter in town, please say “no” to their devastating plans for IL.

JCAR, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, (12 IL Reps and Sens), can block the fracking industry for up to 180 days by prohibiting the rules for fracking at their next meeting, Thur, Nov. 6th. Prohibiting means the rules will go back to the IDNR, (IL Dept. of Natural Resources), for further work. The rules for fracking are NOT going to keep Illinois residents safe. They are inadequate on many levels, but particularly insufficient for: dangerous induced earthquakes, radioactive waste water and debris, carcinogenic air pollution including silica sand, water contamination, and the industry’s chemical “secrets”. Also the fines for violations are a pittance. JCAR has postponed this vote 2 times already – they are aware of the controversy around some of the dangers of fracking.

The frackers are trying to gut the rules right now in closed door sessions. We say, “No to back room deals – bring the rules out to the light of day and start public hearings – listen to the scientists and seismologists and not the polluters and profiteers!”

Please do 4 things to block fracking in the next week:

1) Call all 12 JCAR members – You do not have to be their constituents – Please tell them:

“I am a resident of Illinois and I am deeply concerned about fracking. Prohibit the rules and bring this process out under the watchful eyes of the public. Thousands of IL residents have already shown you that they care deeply about the risks of fracking, including dangerous earthquakes in the active earthquake zones of the New Madrid and Wabash Valley in Southern Illinois. The fracking industry causes earthquakes, and this is an unacceptable risk! We say “no” to gutting the rules in closed door sessions. We care about our air, water, food and the future of our children on this planet. You have a duty to protect our climate from the methane that will inevitably leak from every well, pipe and tank, and to protect Illinois from earthquakes, radioactive waste, air and water contamination, and chemical secrets. Vote for the health, welfare and safety of the people of Illinois over the profits of the industry. Please prohibit the rules for fracking and send them back to the IDNR for improvements.”

Contact info is listed here: and on the back.

2) Please attend the next JCAR meeting on Thur, Nov 6th at the Michael A Bilandic Building, 160 North LaSalle St, Chicago, IL – 10:45am – meet in front of the building on LaSalle st. – please bring your friends, we would like to pack the meeting room for the – 11:30am JCAR meeting, Rm 600 C. More info is at; or contact

3) Sign and pass this petition – “JCAR members – Please prohibit the rules for fracking in IL
If you are a member of an environmental / community / business / not-for-profit organization, please have your organization sign onto the petition as well.

4) Please Go Online and Sign a petition to Ban Fracking in the Active Earthquake Zones of IL!

This is the urgent issue right now – don’t let the politicos on JCAR, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, green light frackquakes in the active earthquake zones of the New Madrid and Wabash Valley in Southern IL. Can they cause a “Big One” – yes they can!

(This petition is up at the top post on Frack Free Illinois on FB).

Thanks for making these calls, spreading the word, attending the events, and educating your friends and family about fracking. And thank you for all you do for our environment!

Frack Free Illinois

“Renewable Energy – Yes, Fracking – No. Green Jobs are Better Jobs!”




SEN. PAMELA ALTHOFF R 815/455-6330

SEN. TONY MUÑOZ D 773/869-9050

SEN. SUE REZIN R 815-220-8720

SEN. DALE A. RIGHTER R 217/235-6033


REP. GREGORY HARRIS D 773/348-3434

REP. LOUIS I. LANG D 847/673-1131

REP. DAVID L. LEITCH R 309/690-7373

REP. DONALD L. MOFFITT R 309/343-8000

REP. ANDRÉ THAPEDI D 773/873-4444

Getting Methane From Coal – A Dirty Business!

The Coal Industry is getting into the methane business!
Coal Bed Methane vs UCG, Underground Coal Gassification

With the Nuclear industry conducting an orchestrated campaign to kill Wind and Renewable Energy Standards in many states, and trying to be declared a “carbon free energy” in the new Carbon Rules, and then probably throwing their renewable energy credits and carbon credits as a lifeline to coal and natural gas – this coal bed methane and “gassification” is what we will get here in IL.

Fracking Coal Beds For Methane will be an issue here in Illinois very soon. There is plenty of coal in IL, all the way up to Des Plaines. They apparently drill into the seam and then use steam to get the methane to release from the coal bed and then separate out the methane from the produced water.

There we go again with bringing up toxic produced water – how nasty is this stuff? Does it get into the water table? Will it cause sinkholes and earthquakes?

CBM: Coalbed Methane News, Markets and Resources: Oil & Gas Financial Journal

Coalbed methane on Wikipedia

Underground Coal Gassification, (UCG) – Gas is produced and extracted through wells drilled into the unmined coal–seams. Injection wells are used to supply the oxidants (air, oxygen, or steam) to ignite and fuel the underground combustion process. Separate production wells are used to bring the product gas to surface. The high pressure combustion is conducted at temperature of 700–900 °C (1,290–1,650 °F), but it may reach up to 1,500 °C (2,730 °F).

Listen to this, then please look at the IL map:
They will literally start the coal seams on fire, the same type of coal seam fires that are polluting our atmosphere.
Can they control it? Can they capture the CO2? Does it pollute the water? Sinkholes and Earthquakes?

Underground Coal Mine Fires – Sapient-Horizons

Coal seam fires (and some natural gas fires) are the forgotten environmental tragedy.

There was a recent call from the ISGS for old maps of all the coal seems — this is a clue that they are going to be rolling this out in IL!

Illinois State Geological Survey Coal Mines in Illinois Viewer (ILMINES) | ISGS

Do we want a Carbon Free/Nuclear Free/Fracking Free/Tar Sands Free Renewable Energy future?

Yes! Unfortunately, the “Unholy, Dirty Trinity” of Nuclear, Fracking and Coal is working to block renewable energy.

All environmentalists are now in the same boat together – the anti-nukers, anti-frackers, anti-coal ers, and anti-oil ers must come together in defense of Wind, Solar, Geothermal and Hydro – the real renewables. The “Unholy, Dirty Trinity” of Nuclear, Fracking and Coal have linked their fates –
Nuclear Energy Rising At The Expense of Renewable Power

The key is that Nuclear appears to be trying to get itself declared as a renewable energy source in the coming “Carbon Games”, (the EPA carbon rules, the state renewable portfolio standards, and the state based carbon trading schemes), and throw their Renewable Energy Credits and Carbon Trading Credits as a lifeline to the Frackers and to Coal.

Plus the “Unholy, Dirty Trinity” is trying to stall/maim/kill renewable energy portfolio standards in many states, as they did recently in Ohio – winning a 2 year delay, Governor signs bill delaying renewable-energy goals

Read how the attack on Ohio’s renewable energy standard came from ALEC, this articles does not mention the Nuclear connection, but it is there in the mix:
ALEC Attacks Ohio Renewable Energy Standard, Local Newspapers Fail to Show Fossil Fuel Connection

Here in Illinois, this spring, we got a “stall” on our “Fix” to our Renewable Energy Portfolio thanks to the Nuclear Industry, plus we got a “We Love Nuclear” bill, HR1146: Illinois General Assembly – Bill Status for HR1146

Nuclear also plans to suck the financing/subsidies out of the room making it less viable for renewable energy projects to survive.
The Cost of Nuclear Power: Numbers That Don’t Add Up | UCSUSA

Below are 2 fact sheets on Nuclear being “Dirty Energy” and a link to a great summary article with videos. The upshot — Nuclear power plants are dirty during the entire life cycle of the fuel, processing, at the plant, and in the “forever” storage of nuclear waste. Also Nuclear power plants release radioactive gases everyday, into the atmosphere, that do not go away, as part of routine operations. Nuclear ain’t sustainable – not if we want to continue to live on this planet!

Nuclear Energy As A Direct Cause Of Global Warming
Nuclear Power Can’t Stop Global Warming
A flyer with this information

The NYC Climate Rally, March and Convergence on Sept 20th – 21st is growing into a huge outpouring of pro-Renewable Energy sentiment – there will be at least 3 days of actions. Please join us in NYC with messages of solidarity with all of the enviro groups for “Real Renewable Energy” over Nuclear, Fracking, Oil and Coal!
A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change

Ready to march? Sign up for the March here.

The NY Climate March on Facebook

Is Fracking for Shale Oil or Natural Gas A Ponzi Scheme?

Credible Economists Are Calling Fracking a Ponzi Scheme

Engdahl: Shale Energy is a Ponzi Scheme

Econintersect: A shocking charge has been leveled by American-German freelance journalist, historian and economicresearcher F. William Engdahl. He says the purported shale gas (and oil) revolution is a fraud because the costs exceed the output. Engdahl maintains that the entire shale energy boom is a new Ponzi scheme organized by the same Wall Street banks who created the mortgage securitization fraud that enabled the U.S. real estate bubble. The scheme depends on high production volumes. These are obtained initially but subside dramatically faster than for conventional wells, according to Engdahl. Only a few insiders know this and are fleecing gullible investors, he says. Engdahl indicates strong evidence of the fraud is provided by Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), the “premier shale gas exploiter“. 

More Resources:

Fracking is a Ponzi Scheme (Wolfe Notes)

Industry Insiders Call Shale Gas a Ponzi Scheme, Invoke Enron (NYT Report)

Deborah Rogers of the Energy Policy Forum:

Shale Gas Economic Presentation
Was the Decline in Natural Gas Prices Orchestrated?
Coal Displacing Natural Gas…Already

1 hour video presentation about fracking in IL at the College of Complexes in Chicago, 3/8/14

 A correction on this presentation: The loophole in the regulatory bill is that they define fracking as over 300,000 gals of water or fluid — not 300 gals.

To all IL fractivists,

Did you know that they are already fracking here in IL — in White, Wayne and Clay counties, there are close to 23 wells already being fracked. The Governor and IL lawmakers are pulling a fast one on the citizens — while they say, “don’t worry the rules for fracking are still under consideration at the IL Dept. of Natural Resources”, then they go ahead and let them frack with nitrogen, propane, or even Hydrofluoric Acid — all considered low-water fracking techniques, which are being permitted right now. There are no depths that Springfield will not go to for money!

Please continue to sign and pass our petition in favor of the
“Green Dozen” fracking bills in Springfield — these bills are designed to limit the extent of the damages from fracking here in IL, and one of them
SB3386, Bans Fracking.

We had a very successful lobby day last Thurs in Springfield for the fracking issue. We are starting to get co-sponsors on some of our “Green Dozen” fracking bills,
please call these Senators and thank them for signing onto our bills:
Sen. Delgado1-217-782 – 5652
Sen. Steans1-217-782 – 8492
Sen. Bush only signed onto the Earthquake bill, SB3492 and the Ban bill SB3386, so she could use a “Thank You” but also encouragement to sign onto the other 10 of the “Green Dozen” – I called her office so they know the bill numbers for the rest of the bills – 1-217-782-7353

All the Senators can also be reached by calling the switchboard at

We were also told by
–that they were considering signing up as co-sponsors — so calls to them encouraging them to do so are very helpful.

Sen. Kotowski is the sponsor for 2 of our bills, SB3492 and SB3562 — but he could sign onto the other 10 bills as a co-sponsor as well.

And Sen. Silverstein is the sponsor of 10 of our 12 bills — but he has not co-sponsored the other 2 bills, he needs to sign onto SB3492 and SB3562.

A thank you call to Sen. Harmon and to Sen. Jacobs for opening the door to subject matter hearings on fracking in the IL Senate Energy Committee are helpful, and you could ask that these Senators co-sponsor our “Green Dozen” bills as well.

Other Senators who are signed onto SB3424 — Sierra Club’s bill to protect the public lands from fracking are:
Tom Cullerton,
— these are all potential co-sponsors for our bills too — if you get a moment please call them as well.

Our “Green Dozen” bills can be found at

We also support the Sierra Club’s fracking bills, SB3424 and SB3181, which can be found at