Dayna Conner owns land and maintains a residence in the Stonefort area and does not believe the state should allow the practice of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas.
She says Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is refusing to listen to the voices in Southern Illinois opposed to fracking and is determined to let the governor know her views — so determined that she spent three hours Tuesday and at least four hours Wednesday sitting on floor in front of the governor's office in the state capitol building waiting for him to hear her out.
"I'm sitting here right now," Conner said in a telephone interview about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday. "I'm sitting with the intention of meeting Governor Quinn and expressing my concern about fracking in Illinois."
Tuesday the Illinois House Executive Committee held a hearing on the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act, passed the bill and now it moves to a House floor vote possibly this week.
On Tuesday the committee held a press conference to announce its unanimous approval of the bill sponsored by Harrisburg native Rep. John Bradley of Marion.
The morning hearing was well-attended by some national figures in the fracking debate, "Gasland" director Josh Fox, biologist Dr. Sandra Steingraber and former President of the Illinois Environmental Council and State Field Representative of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter Carolyn Raffensperger, according to a release from Conner's supporters.
Conner said there were many people throughout Illinois and New York in the hearing to testify about "the hazards of fracking to public health, environmental hazards and loss of people's rights on their own land."
"The committee voted in favor of the regulatory bill and after that there was a press conference in the rotunda. Several grass roots people gathered to speak out against the pro-industry regulatory bill. Immediately after that everyone went up to Governor Quinn's office," Conner said.
The groups requested a meeting with Quinn. They were told Quinn was busy in meetings. Conner said the Quinn has denied requests for meetings with Southern Illinois fracking opponents for over a year.
"For 18 months people in Southern Illinois can't get an audience with Governor Quinn," Conner said.
Conner, Angie Viands and Josh Trost sat down in front of Quinn's office with an anti-fracking banner on the floor and signs opposed to fracking taped to their shirts.
They remained until Tuesday night until Viands was arrested on a charge of trespass to state property. She was released from custody Tuesday night, Conner said and returned Wednesday to the capitol building to show her support.
At about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday Conner and Trost returned to Quinn's office and resumed their sit in.
Conner said she would maintain her spot "as long as it takes."
Page 2 of 2 - Conner wants to tell the governor the bill is flawed.
"The regulatory bill was brokered with the industry behind closed doors with no environmental study, no public health study," Conner said.
The group demands Quinn meet with affected communities to discuss a moratorium on fracking.