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Anti-fracking group drafting a community bill of rights

Organization wants to take proposal to Jackson County Board

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CARBONDALE -- A grassroots anti-fracking group is hosting a kickoff event Saturday at the Town Square Pavilion in Carbondale to reveal a proposed community bill of rights for Jackson County.

Southern Illinois Rights Project member Al Parr said the group has been organizing to protect the rights and health of residents and natural communities from the expansion of oil and gas hydraulic fracking in Southern Illinois.

He said the state has protections in the Illinois Constitution for its residents' health and well-being, but it isn’t enforcing it as much as it could.

“They are simply regulating the damage that can be done to us,” Parr said. “We decided that we would go – as local folks – and encourage the county to seize control of those portions of the state Constitution and incorporate it into a county Bill of Rights and enforce it locally.”

He said the rights the organization is primarily trying to enforce have to do with the right to regulate or ban unsustainable energy development.

“Jackson County doesn't have a lot of oil, but we have water sand and infrastructure that can be used by the industry and we don’t want that to happen,” Parr said.

Another project member Ron Darnell said the organization’s goal is to bring the rights of clean water and clean air to the local government, and have it pass a resolution that will fall under constitutional rights.

“We are not intending to pass a law to ban fracking because of just fracking,” Darnell said. “It is because the results of fracking is infringing on our Constitutional rights.”

Parr said the organization will present the proposed document at the kickoff celebration Saturday.

The organization will also be passing around a petition to encourage the Jackson County Board to accept its proposal.

The event is from 3 to 6 p.m., and is open to the public, Parr said.

The group hopes to bring the proposal to the County Board in August.

dustin.duncan@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

on twitter: @zd2000

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