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Illinois Deal On Fracking Could Be National Model

By Tammy Webber

FILE - In this June 20, 2012 file photo, protesters rally against the oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," as the legislative session winds down at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. In New York, there is a fracking moratorium in effect until a health study is completed. As hydraulic fracturing mobilizes thousands around the country both for and against, industry and some environmental groups in Illinois have come together to draft regulations both sides could live with. Some hope that cooperative approach could be a model for other states. (AP Photo/Tim Roske, File)

CHICAGO, Ill. (AP) – After years of clashing over the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the oil industry and environmentalists have achieved something extraordinary in Illinois: They sat down together to draft regulations both sides could live with.

If approved by lawmakers, participants say, the rules would be the nation’s strictest. The Illinois model might also offer a template to other states seeking to carve out a middle ground between energy companies that would like free rein and environmental groups that want to ban the practice entirely.

“The fact that Illinois got there,” was significant, said Brian Petty, executive vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs at the International Association of Drilling Contractors. “Anytime you can bring the lion and lamb to the table, it’s a good thing. But it’s so highly politicized in lot of places” that compromise could be difficult.

Fracking uses a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals to crack and hold open thick rock formations, releasing trapped oil and gas. Combined with horizontal drilling, it allows access to formerly out-of-reach deposits and has allowed drillers to move closer to populated areas.

The industry insists the method is safe and would create thousands of jobs – possibly 40,000 in the poorest area of Illinois, according to one study. Opponents say it causes water and air pollution and permanently depletes freshwater resources.

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Posted by FanningCommunications on Apr 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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