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Bradshaw, Bigler stand with anti-fracking activists

CARBONDALE — Paula Bradshaw and Michael Bigler had a message for attendees of an anti-fracking rally Wednesday in Carbondale: We stand with you. Bradshaw, running as a Green Party candidate in the 12th Congressional District, and Bigler, a Democrat running the state’s 58th Senate District, offered full-throated support of efforts toward a statewide moratorium on the high-volume hydraulic fracturing process to draw natural gas out of the region’s shale deposits.

The rally was sponsored by Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment.Bradshaw said the oil and gas industry sells a bill of goods to people desperate for jobs. Instead, people are left with “health problems, flammable water, dead animals and fish.”“We don’t want that here in Southern Illinois,” she said. “Not to mention, but I will, that the promise of jobs is empty.”Bradshaw said most industry jobs go to outside workers, and the industry does not tell people about jobs lost because of damage to property, wilderness, farmlands and areas for hunting and fishing.“They don’t calculate the economic losses that will follow when our water, soil and air are contaminated, including health care costs,” she said. “They don’t calculate the added tax burdens to repair roadways for the constant traffic of the army of trucks that always accompany fracking, and the health care costs of truck versus car collisions.”

Bradshaw said people should not view fracking as a jobs versus environment situation because “far more jobs could be created by protecting the environment by investing money instead on renewable energy and sustainable transportation.” Bigler said the environmental impact of fracking was one reason why he promised to stand with those who seek a moratorium.“It’s the water that I’m mainly concerned about because water is going to be the next oil,” he said.

Bigler, from Anna, is running against Republican Dave Luechtefeld, a state senator and retired school teacher from Okawville who supports hydraulic fracturing.

Bradshaw is an emergency room nurse and activist from Carbondale. She is running against Democrat Bill Enyart, an attorney from Belleville and a recently retired major general who commanded the Illinois National Guard, and Republican Jason Plummer, a businessman, former candidate for lieutenant governor of Illinois and an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve. Plummer and Enyart support fracking to meet energy needs. Bradshaw said it would be too late to change either of her opponents’ minds if they were elected to Congress.

dw.norris@thesouthern.com/618-351-5074

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