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“Gasland” (the movie) showing Friday, 8/5 at 7 p.m. at ICC East Peoria

August 2, 2011

The ICC Student Association for the Environment (SAFE), along with Forest Park Nature Center (the Nature Center), Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste (PFATW), Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club (HOISC), and Global Warming Solutions Group (GWSG), is hosting a free public screening of this cautionary new documentary about the booming hydraulic fracturing industry and its potentially damaging impact on the environment.

The screening will be held Friday night, August 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm at the ICC Theatre on the main campus in East Peoria. The event is free of charge, and open to the general public. It is being sponsored by SAFE, with the Nature Center, PFATW, HOISC and GWS, to educate the public about what could be an environmentally disastrous practice. Central Illinois is in the cross hairs of the natural gas industry. They want to frack in our backyards and over our main drinking water supplies. At least one permit has already been applied for, but was withdrawn when concerned citizens raised questions.

According to the website for the film,, “The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.”

The film’s website has a FAQs page that answers questions about the process of hydraulic fracturing, The basic explanation from this page: “Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.”

What the film and fracking opponents say is that the “proprietary chemicals” being injected are causing massive contamination of residential wells and regional aquifers (where millions get their drinking and household water). And the companies doing the fracking are NOT required to tell anyone what chemicals they are injecting into the ground because of an exemption in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act created in 2005 by the Bush/Cheney Energy Bill that exempted natural gas drilling from regulations. It is now commonly referred to as the Halliburton Loophole, for the company that pioneered the process and does much of the drilling around the country, and for which Dick Cheney is a former CEO.

According to a report from the Illinois Basin Consortium and the Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky Geological Surveys, “the New Albany Shale is present throughout the Illinois Basin.” ( Meaning that almost all of Central and Southern Illinois land has potential for natural gas extraction via hydraulic fracturing.

A member of PFATW sent an email on July 6th to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), requesting a map of hydraulic fracturing activity in our state so that we could discuss areas of concern after the film. The Interim Supervisor of the Oil and Gas Division of the Office of Mines and Minerals of the IDNR replied that “such a map does not exist in our files.  Currently the operators are not required to permit or report hydraulic fracturing operations to the State, so we cannot provide you with a list.” There is NO WAY for Illinois residents to know if they live near or over a well where hydraulic fracturing is taking place! More importantly, the State doesn’t even know where fracking is occurring, so how can they manage or regulate the activity in such a way that protects local health, resources, safety, and property values???

Following are helpful links to maps showing natural gas/shale deposits around the United States, other articles about fracking activity in Illinois, and IDNR’s information page about oil and gas drilling:
From the US Department of Energy Information Administration, a map of shale gas plays in the United States:
Evansville Courier & Press article:
A natural gas pipeline rupture in Scott County, IL:
The history of oil and gas production in Illinois:
Illinois Oil and Gas drilling facts from the state Department of Natural Resources:

Gasland has won several awards at festivals around the country, including the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize at the Yale Environmental Film Festival, and the Audience Award at the Thin Line Film Festival. ABC News and PBS Now have both covered the film in their regular news casts, found at the following links:

The screening is free and open to the general public.

For information on how to get to the ICC Theatre, call (309) 694-5136 or see the ICC website,

Sponsored by:  Illinois Central College Student Association for the Environment (SAFE) –
Forest Park Nature Center –
Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club –
Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste –
Global Warming Solutions Group-
About the ICC Student Association for the Environment:
Founded in 1989, an organization of and for ICC students, SAFE’s motto is “challenge yourself to become more environmentally aware.”About Forest Park Nature Center:
Forest Park Nature Center features 540 acres of State Nature Preserve containing over 7 miles of hiking trails. Our nature center offers a natural history museum, hands-on area for kids, and bird-viewing room. Our Trailhead Nature Store specializes in eco-friendly and nature-related items, and offers a wide variety of products. Forest Park’s mission is to nurture an enhanced awareness, appreciation, enjoyment and understanding of the natural world, and to foster connections between people and nature. We continue to work towards the goal of carrying items that are not only fun and educational, but also promote environmental education and awareness.

About Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste:
PFATW is an ever-growing group of mainstream citizens who live and work in Peoria County and are concerned about the health and safety of our families. We are compelled and unified by a common sense of concern. We seek to do what we see as our duty as concerned residents—to inform our neighbors, impact the public process, and protect our health and the safety of our entire community.

About Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club:
Heart of Illinois Group Sierra Club is a local volunteer group affiliated with the Illinois Chapter Sierra Club and the national Sierra Club. Sierra Club’s motto is to protect the environment, for our families and for our future. The HOI Group board endorses steps to provide the maximum protections and best long-term options possible regarding the PDC Hazardous Waste Landfill.

About Global Warming Solutions Group:
Global warming is a very real crisis of incredible dimensions. There is a proven connection between global warming and increased levels of greenhouse gases. Reduction of levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases must occur as rapidly as possible. We are a coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to an 80% emissions reduction over the next 40 years, through promoting energy efficiency and developing renewable energy sources.

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