Fracking uses high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack open rock formations and release oil and gas. (Photo courtesy Daniel Foster/flickr)
By The Associated Press
CHICAGO - Gov. Pat Quinn is praising a bill that would regulate high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois, saying it'll help the economy.
Quinn released a statement yesterday after two downstate lawmakers introduced the bill to establish ground rules for hydraulic fracturing, or ``fracking.''
The method uses high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack open rock formations and release oil and gas. The industry is eyeing southern Illinois' New Albany shale.
Quinn says he's committed to protecting the environment and creating jobs.
State Reps. John Bradley of Marion and David Reis of Olney sponsored the bill. It was negotiated with officials from industry and agriculture, environmentalists and Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Critics are calling for a 2-year moratorium on fracking to study pollution and health issues.
“We’d like to compliment the industry for agreeing to some of the most – if not the most – significant industry standards within the United States; and the environmental coalition for acknowledging the hard work and the concessions of the industry,” said State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion).
Mark Denzler of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association said in addition to the environmental considerations, there are three benefits.
"No. 1: it’s going to create jobs –high-paying jobs. It’s going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and it’s going to lead to a low cost of energy for many consumers and businesses for many decades to come.”
Is it all too good to be true? Only one of the speakers at the celebration dared express a discouraging word.
“We don’t want fracking,” said Ann Alexander, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, after the ceremony. “We think it is unwise to commence fracking, which is so poorly understood, and needs so much more scientific investigation, before you can really say you understand what kind of protections are necessary. But we don’t get to make that decision. A decision is already being made whether we like it or not.”