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Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 12:01 am

Letters to the Editor 8/21/14



Mike Lang reported in Illinois Times on various “Conversations on race” (see “Diverse faith groups talk about race,” June 12) that have been initiated by clergy and congregations – our experience is that these have helped us transcend not only racial but also theological boundaries. As we have shared our different stories, the bond between us as fellow human beings has grown. Some shared firsthand accounts about being mistreated and degraded due to the color of their skin. These stories come to mind as we observe events in Ferguson, Missouri. Given info that has thus far been released, we are both shocked by the use of deadly force against Michael Brown, as well as by images of the heavily armed police that were initially deployed. By the same token, we do not condone rioting or looting. Nonetheless, we do grasp the simmering anger of African-American residents of that community and we hope that justice will be served. We look forward to the day, as Dr. King prophesied, when a person will be judged by his character and not by the color of their skin.

Rev. Silas Johnson, Calvary Baptist Church
Rev. Martin Woulfe, Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation


It may not seem important until you are one of 44 Springfield families that do not have closure in the senseless murder of a loved one. I am founder of Voice of Those Who Have Been Silenced by Violence and it appears the peaceful cries for help have fallen on deaf ears in our community. We conducted a peaceful March from the Springfield police station to the Capitol in which we were supposed to have police escorts (remember our family members were brutally killed) and not a one came out in support. They only peered from the Municipal Building East windows. We marched in the Juneteenth parade where many made speeches in reference to the willingness to help and seemed to have empathy for our group – haven’t heard from any of them. We also had a tent at Rhythm and Blues at Dreamland Park. Again, all our pleadings are peaceful.

I even sent a letter to Pat Quinn’s office regarding assistance. They sent the request to the state police who referred me back to Springfield police. We are just asking that a task force unit be set up to work with these families and that they stop letting persons of interest out for use as informants in the community – that is not the way the judicial system should work. Stop trying to catch nickel and dime drug dealers; step up your game and catch murderers. Give families closure; let our loved ones rest in peace.

Nicki Renfro


Thank you for publishing the article by Phillip Gregg, “How safe is hydraulic fracturing?” (Aug. 14). It effectively points out positions taken by both the industry and environmental community. However, there is still more to the story. “Hydraulic” fracturing is not the only threat to Illinois citizens and our environment.

Fracturing and acidizing is used in vertical, directional or horizontal wells. However, new technology utilizing extensive horizontal drilling and “slickwater” fluid has only been employed since the late 1990s. For a permit to drill under the new Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act signed into law in 2013, the fracturing operation must meet a narrow definition – “the pressurized application of more than 80,000 gallons per stage or more than 300,000 gallons total of hydraulic fracturing fluid.” So – it’s all about the volume of chemicals and water that will be used. Not all fracturing is primarily water-based. If the permit request does not meet this definition, it will be issued under the Illinois Oil and Gas Act. The permit fee under the Oil and Gas Act is $100 per well; the permit fee under the new legislation is $13,500 per well. There is no tax payable to the state on well production under the Oil and Gas Act.

While some oil and gas companies may be waiting for permits for high-volume fracturing, others have found alternative methods to utilize fracturing and horizontal drilling to avoid permitting under the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act. In doing so, they also avoid higher permit fees, taxes on production and application of any other safeguards in the more recent legislation. More information on this and related topics can be found on our website at centralilpals.org.

Linda Green and JoAnn Conrad
Central Illinois Prairie Action Leaders Symposia
Springfield and Morrisonville

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