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E-M:/ IL Parks Protected From Oil/Gas Drilling

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

As Michigan's Governor Engler continues to do his courtship dance with the oil
and gas industry, finding ever new arenas for them to despoil, it is
fascinating to see a nearby Great Lakes Governor choose to say NO to drilling
on key areas. AW


Sierra Club today celebrated Illinois Governor Jim Edgar's signing of Senate
Bill 795, which protects Illinois' state parks and conservation lands from oil
drilling activities.

"This new law will protect Illinois' parks from the damage that oil and gas
drilling can cause," said Jack Darin, State Field Representative for the Sierra
Club, Illinois Chapter.  "Our parks and conservation lands were set aside for
our families and our future, not for private companies to rip up and extract
oil from."

Sierra Club leaders worked with the Edgar administration to develop and pass
Senate Bill 795.  Several companies have been seeking permission to drill for
oil or gas in or underneath several Illinois conservation properties in the
southern part of the state.  The bill, signed into law on Sunday, gives the
Illinois Department of Natural Resources the authority to deny such requests.
Up until now, the state did not have such authority under laws passed over
fifty years ago.

"Now that the state has the power to keep oil rigs out of our state parks, we
hope we never see the day when Illinois hikers, birders, hunters, and families
have to share their parks with damaging oil or gas wells," said Darin.  "Our
parks just aren't the place to be drilling for oil."

Oil and gas drilling operations can cause significant harm to the environment
in many ways.  Installing oil wells can destroy habitat, and pollution from the
wells can kill vegetation and degrade habitat, in addition to leaving behind a
costly cleanup job.


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