Rep. Dan Brady said he welcomes a study into fracking to determine whether it's safe. (Photo courtesy Illinois House Republicans)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, said he would support a two-year moratorium on fracking to ensure that it's safe.
Fracking is the practice on blasting water and chemical underground to extract oil and natural gas.
"We've got natural gas, we've got oil underground in this state. We've got to find a way to extract it in the most safe way that we possibly can. That will be where the big debate lies. We'll ahve to wait and see," Brady said.
The moratorium is included in an amendment to an Illinois House bill that Brady said likely won't be considered during the November veto session. He said the bill will likely be held off until the spring session in January.
Brady said fracking legislation which passed the Illinois Senate stalled in the spring when House Speaker Mike Madigan tried to add new taxes on oil and gas companies.
"That's when the sparks started flying during the spring session and the bill sits, so we'll have to wait and see," Brady said. "This has been, one would say' the compromise that has come back in this House amendment, so we'll see where it goes."
McLean County has held off any action on fracking while waiting for the state to put regulations in place.
Health contracts extended
Brady said the state's recent move to extend emergency contracts with three health care providers through next June should give state workers, dependents and retirees peace of mind. Brady said many of them were upset when the state gave little notice that it wasn't renewing its contracts with Health Alliance and Humana.
"That really, really sent people into an uproar and understandably so. At least these new contracts will be in place next year unless they come up with a provider before then," Brady said.
State lawmakers had blocked the switch to Blue Cross Blue Shield because it didn't have enough contracts with downstate health care providers.
Eric Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.