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Fracking Elves Deliver Early Christmas Present

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Chicago, ILFour elves - unaccompanied by Santa - got their media moment just before the big day by erecting a 10’ fracking rig on the lawn of Gov. Pat Quinn to protest hydraulic fracking. Environmentalists from coast to coast are filing fracking lawsuits: Is it just a matter of time until fracking hits the North Pole?

On Monday afternoon Chicago police found the 10-foot oil drill at the Governor’s home and initially the department’s bomb and arson unit treated it as a suspicious package. But the elves came clean soon afterward and confessed in a news release they had delivered the early Christmas protest present to Quinn and others who favor fracking in Illinois.

The angry activists from a climate change group called “Rising Tide Chicago” posted their elfin activities to their Twitter feed, tweeting “@govenorquinn we just delivered your #merryfrackmess present”. In its news release, Mike Durshmid of Rising Tide Chicago said, "We are delivering this rig today because if Governor Quinn and the other people that have opened up our state to fracking had to live next to fracking and had to obtain their water from a well I think they would not bring fracking to our state.”

Police officers took pictures of the rig before dismantling and disposing of it. Officer Daniel O'Brien, a police spokesman, said the incident has been classified as “noncriminal” and they don’t plan on arresting the elves, before or after their Christmas tour of duty. The governor wasn’t home to receive his early protest present and his office declined to comment on the delivery.

And check out the elves erecting their oil drill on this youtube video titled "Merry Frackmess".

Meanwhile, the elves must have sprinkled fairy dust over West Virginia. Chesapeake Appalachia, a subsidiary of the nation's second-largest natural gas producer has been penalized $3.2 million for clean water violations in West Virginia, as reported to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review (December 19, 2013). The federal government’s penalty is one of the largest for violations of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, according to the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Company spokesman Gordon Pennoyer said that “Chesapeake Appalachia LLC has reached a key milestone in the settlement process to resolve federal and state claims relating to surface construction activities that occurred in West Virginia prior to November 2010…The company is fully committed to regulatory compliance and is working with the Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to restore the impacted sites.”

Chesapeake Appalachia has been fracking on oil and gas properties in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In December of 2012 the company pleaded guilty to three violations of the Clean Water Act for unauthorized discharge of dredge and/or fill material at a site in Wetzel County and paid a $600,000 penalty, according to the EPA.

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