Southern Illinois Judge Grants Natural Gas Rights From More Than 1000 People Without Their Permission

Just two weeks ago the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a draft report linking hydraulic fracturing to groundwater contamination. Yet, despite this report, yesterday a Saline County, Illinois judge granted Colorado-based Next Energy, LLC the right to lease mineral rights from more than a thousand people without their permission!

Dimock, PA fracking well
Dimock, PA drilling site of Cabot Oil and Gas. State officials ordered the Houston-based energy company to permanently shut down some of its wells, pay nearly a quarter million dollars in fines, and permanently provide drinking water to affected families for contaminating local drinking water.

Deep beneath the coal seams of Saline County lay the New Albany and Maquoketa shale deposits at 4,200 to 6,100 feet deep respectively. Next Energy, LLC plans to extract natural gas from the deep shale beds with a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fracking is process in which water, sand and chemicals are injected into the well at high pressure to create small cracks in the rock that allow natural gas to freely flow to the surface.

Toxic chemicals are used at every stage of the fracking process.  Drilling muds, a combination of toxic and non-toxic substances, are used to drill the well. To facilitate the release of natural gas after drilling, approximately a million or more gallons of fluids, loaded with toxic chemicals, are injected underground under high pressure using diesel-powered heavy equipment that runs continuously during the operation.

One well can be fracked 10 or more times and there can be up to 28 wells on one well pad.  An estimated 30% to 70% of the fracking fluid will resurface, bringing back with it toxic substances that are naturally present in underground oil and gas deposits, as well as the chemicals used in the fracking fluid.

fracking pad and impoundment
Fracking pad with waste water impoundment in Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of

Most well pads contain pits that hold used drilling muds, fracking fluids and the contaminated water (produced water) which surfaces with the gas.  Produced water often continues to surface for the life of the well (20 to 30 years) and is often hauled in “water trucks” to large, central evaporation pits.  Many of the chemicals found in drilling and evaporation pits are considered hazardous wastes and upon closure, every pit has the potential to become a superfund site.

In addition to the land and water contamination issues, at each stage of production and delivery, tons of toxic volatile compounds, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, etc., and fugitive natural gas (methane), escape and mix with nitrogen oxides from the exhaust of diesel-driven equipment to produce ground-level air pollution-causing ozone, which can spread up to 200 miles beyond the immediate region where gas is being produced. Ozone not only causes irreversible damage to the lungs, it is equally damaging to many plants and crops.

groundwater contaminated with methane catches fire
Well water contaminated with methane catches fire at the tap. Photo from the film, Gasland.

Hydraulic fracturing is one of only two underground injection processes exempted from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. States where hydraulic fracturing occurs have varying regulatory requirements, some of which are weak. For example, in Illinois oil and gas companies are not required to publicly disclose the types and amounts of chemicals that are injected underground in the fracturing process. In other words, nearby residents or landowners have no way of knowing what kinds of chemicals are being injected underground that may have contaminated their drinking water.

Between the county judge’s overeager bow to industry and Illinois’ oil and gas industry exemptions from the safe drinking water act, the citizens of Saline County are being fracked in more ways than one!

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc.
Sierra Club


13 thoughts on “Southern Illinois Judge Grants Natural Gas Rights From More Than 1000 People Without Their Permission

  1. Please, everyone. HELP US get through this in Saline county. We shouldn’t just lay down and die! We need to make a ruckus!!! Anyone in??? I can’t rightly look into my children’s eyes and say “I did nothing to stop them.”

    1. Do you know where they plan on starting? I am willing to come sit in to try and stop it. I realize it’s a risk, but decent people are getting mowed over in every state in which this takes place. I am willing to be part of a group to try and take a stand, here, to finally get this turned around.

  2. Peabody Coal is trying to steal 300 plus acres from the people through a land trade with NFS. South of Shawneetown and on the Saline River. Let’s fight this too.

  3. I am in. 847-502-0378. call me. ive just started contacting chicago news stations and gathering every and all sites that are on-line that have posted articles and on-line video coverage of world wide news stations that have covered stories on fracking contaminating water and causing earthquakes. If u look at viewers there is a small fraction of people who are getting the word. This needs to be reached to the public on a much larger scale. The oil companies are way ahead of us-this all was a process that has been taking place since president bush lifted all epa laws and regulations before he left office. We need to organize with other people and form a group.

  4. Hi this is laurelei-contact the clean air council 1-215-567-4004, clean water action 1-202-895-0420, earthworks oil and gas accountability project 1-202-887-1872, environmental work and group 1-202-667-6982, epa illionios 1800-621-8431, food and water watch 1-202-683-3500, illinois green party 1-312-733-4640,and ur local senator and alderman….also try to form ur own group and facebook it and if u can make a websiite…call and talk to ur local news…tell them that u cant believe even after a judge was issued a report linking fracking to contaminated waters by the epa the judge is allowing fracking and without permission from the people…it sounds to me like that judge has been bribed and took the money!!!! bring attention to that judge-find out the judges name…call ur news and tell them this needs to be investigated…

  5. First, the chemicals and sand that are injected far below the water table are NOT toxic. I would drink them despite the nasty taste.

    Irresponsible drillers who drill “on the cheap” can easily pollute the water supply, but responsible drillers realize that one “accident” would doom theeir prospects in that area. Consequently they are very careful.

    Shale gas may be the answer to our energy dependance on foreign oil. Cheaper energy creates jobs. Inexpensive shale gas has been responsible for a large part of our recent (albeit still feeble) economic recovery.

  6. A group has formed! They are called S.A.F.E. (Southern-Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment) and they have a website: They have an online petition through care2 as well as substantial documentation, etc. They also have posters and a flyer to download. Please spread the word and sign the petition!

  7. With respect to Mr. Clapp’s offer to drink frack water:

    Many fracturing fluid chemicals are known to be toxic to humans and wildlife, and several are known to cause cancer. Potentially toxic substances include petroleum distillates such as kerosene and diesel fuel (which contain benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene and other chemicals); polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; methanol; formaldehyde; ethylene glycol; glycol ethers; hydrochloric acid; and sodium hydroxide.

    Very small quantities of some fracking chemicals are capable of contaminating millions of gallons of water. According to the Environmental Working Group, petroleum-based products known as petroleum distillates such as kerosene (also known as hydrotreated light distillates, mineral spirits, and a petroleum distillate blends) are likely to contain benzene, a known human carcinogen that is toxic in water at levels greater than five parts per billion (or 0.005 parts per million).

    Mr. Clapp may want to think twice before drinking anything like this.

  8. Hydraulic Fracturing a Danger to us All. Safe Drinking Water World Wide is Running OUT.

    Why would anyone think we have water to waste.

    Only the wicked in mind Leaders in this Nation and around the world would let anyone Pipe Pollution into the ground to get gas in return from the Ground. Most all scientist have know this for many years that this will end safe drinking water for all that are in the area of where they are fracturing, in which Millions of Gallons of Dangerous Poison Chemically Treated Water are forced underground to break up rock and free gas. We need regulations from GODLY People that will stop 10,000+ wells a year drilled using hydraulic fracturing to free and make the Dangerous Poison Chemicals underground into gas. The primarily affect will be unsafe drinking water and many will become sick. THE HEALTH OF MANY WILL DETERIORATE because of A Few Wicked Greedy Leaders. Those who have made these decisions do not know Jesus Christ. Soon He will say i know you not. They belong in jail soon it will be hell for them. What sick in mind would let or want anyone to put Dangerous Poison Chemicals underground or into the ground anywhere.

    The wicked are trying to sell and tell all if it is not near your home or land it is safe. This is the biggest ling of horse manure. Do they think most of We The People are that dumb or that most Americans lack any intelligence at all. What ever is put on or in the ground makes it way to our underground Aquifers, Rivers, Lakes and the Oceans. Every Scientist on Earth knows this and most all that have made it to eighth grade in school.

    So why would any Leader with a good healthy mind ever say or want this?

    Vote any wicked that has anything to do with this out of office they work for WE THE PEOPLE. Then need to go to jail. Soon it will be not jail but Hell.

    United We Stand In GOD We Trust

    The Lord’s Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

    Wicked Leaders telling their friends as long as you can cover it up and it will not get back to me it is ok with me. Are you sure we will not go to jail for making money by Polluting the ground and water. Of course not we make the laws to fit our needs not the health and welfare of others or as they used to say We The People. Its now the Wicked Leaders and rich Rule. Till our Lord GOD comes!

    Solar Energy the way to go.
    Many States Are and are Banning Fracking.

    Archimedes and Albert Einstein
    These two are at the top of the list of the World’s Greatest Scientists,
    Viewed by Scientist around the World.

    Sad that for the last 25 years or so of every teacher asked no matter what
    Grade k through 16. At least 80% of them did not know Archimedes. Even sadder 90%
    of them could not tell you what one of the most Brilliant Scientist to ever
    live on Earth. Won the Nobel Prize for.

    It was for the work Albert Einstein did to show the World it could get
    Free Energy, Electric from the SUN. (THE PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT).

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