Illinois People's Action has left a lump of coal for the McLean County Chamber of Commerce. About 20 members of the the faith-based group stopped by the organization's downtown Bloomington offices to sing carols in protest of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce's study on the economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The study says Illinois could realize $9 billion in economic development and 47,000 jobs if the controversial shale gas extraction method were allowed in the state. IPA's Bill Rau says the study, authored by an ISU economist, is full of flaws.
"It's an abstract modeling exercise that doesn't bear any reality to what's actually happening in areas that are being fracked right now."
Rau says fracking is hurting one area of Texas, where shale gas was thought to be high in content.
"Drilling's dropped 70%. They're laying off people to the bone. The company's that are doing this drilling are going bankrupt. They're insolvent. They've been running up huge piles of debt. They're not making any money because the production costs are twice as high as what they're getting for gas."
Read Rau's response.
McLean County Chamber of Commerce Director Charlie Moore says his organization, which is seperate from the Illinois Chamber, is yet to take a position on the fracking issue.
"Our organziation really has no position, so I can't help them much. Other to hear what their concerns are from the Illinois Chamber or another organization."
Moore and the IPA demonstrators only briefly interacted. He told them he would hear their concerns after speaking with GLT News. When that 3 minute interview in his office was over, Moore emerged to find the group had disbanded. The local chamber did sponsor a members-only appearance from a U. S Chamber spokesperson. IPA members say they deserve the chance to publicly address the issue with the Chamber and Moore says he welcomes that opportunity. However, Moore says the IPA action at his office was inconsiderate, rude and left members of his staff intimidated.
Hear one of the holiday carols sung by the IPA members.
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