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Fracking to be debated in Illinois General Assembly

Frackingpic-internetThe topic of fracking is receiving renewed attention across the nation and at the Capitol in Springfield.  Legislation that would implement a two-year moratorium has been filed in the State Senate.  Different legislation that would allow, but regulate, fracking has been filed in the Illinois House.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a process by which a mixture of water, sand and chemicals are pumped deep underground in order to fracture rock and release natural gas or oil deposits.  The fracturing leads to higher production at oil and gas wells and helps increase employment in areas of high oil and gas concentration.  The process has increased in recent years, with new fracking operations in Texas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania to name a few.

 

However, the process is not without controversy.  In 2010, the film Gasland documented suspected groundwater contamination from fracking wells.  The documentary famously demonstrated how this contamination caused drinking water to light afire.

Proponents of fracking point to not only increased employment, but also energy independence when discussing fracking.  With increased production within the United States, that is less petroleum and natural gas that we have to buy on the foreign energy market.

Last year, the Illinois Senate passed comprehensive fracking regulation legislation.  Unfortunately, the bill did not come up for a vote in the Illinois House.

As the debate continues, legislators will have to weigh the benefits and liabilities of fracking as legislation makes its way through the Capitol.