Why the theme of water?
We want to call attention to the fact that water is life, and the assault on our water through fracking, tar sands, other extractive industries and water privatization is putting our lives and the future of the planet at risk.
In Illinois we have several major threats to our water:
Here in Chicago, we are minutes from what is slated to become the largest tar sands refinery in the nation with the BP plant expansion in Whiting, Indiana. Tar sands are the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuel on the planet, and the waste from the refining process goes right into Lake Michigan. The Enbridge Kalamazoo river tar sands spill of 2010 is a deadly reminder of the unique toxicity of tar sands oil. Three years after the spill it has still not been cleaned up, and the EPA just ordered Enbridge to dredge parts of the river. In that same year Enbridge had another major tar sands spill in a Chicago suburb, Romeoville. The company is currently lobbying to expand their tar sands pipeline infrastructure in IL, MI, and IA.
The oil and gas industry is on a full-scale push to frack throughout much of Illinois, threatening the availability and quality of water for agriculture and people and poisoning it for generations to come. Thanks to their enormous lobbying powers, these industries are exempt from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts! Right now in Southern Illinois, as industry prepares to pave the path for fracking, landowners are being tricked into signing their land away to the fracking companies.
Nationally and internationally, the situation is dire.
The EPA just released the first comprehensive survey looking at the health of thousands of stream and river miles across the country, finding that 55 percent are in “poor condition for aquatic life.” More than 13,000 miles of rivers have fish with mercury levels that may be unsafe for human consumption. Our oceans are undergoing massive extinction rates just as terrestrial extinction threatens whole ecosystems. The ocean, which creates more than half of the planet’s oxygen, has already absorbed more than 80% of the heat added to the climate system and around 33% of the carbon dioxide emitted by humans.
Fracking and tar sands exploitation will further destroy what clean water we have, threatening our environment and the very future of life on this planet.
Join us on Earth Day to say NO to both tar sands and fracking and to come together with others who are pledging to stop the destruction of our water that is the basis for all life.
The Climate Crisis Coalition, Tar Sands Free Midwest, Stop the Frack Attack on Illinois, CAPOW!, Alaska’s Big Village Network, RAN Chicago, NEIS, World Can't Wait Chicago, Center for Water Advocacy, The Illinois Coalition for a Moratorium on Fracking, Protect Chicago's Water, Rising Tide Chicago, and others.