Environmental and other advocacy groups who want a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Illinois took their message to the state capitol Tuesday.
Illinois environmentalists are divided on the drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing ... commonly known as "fracking." Some big name groups negotiated regulations that have already been hailed as a possible national model.
Deep underground in southeastern Illinois is the New Albany Shale which is potentially laced with riches in the form of natural gas. Hydraulic fracturing uses a mixture of chemicals and a millions of gallons of water to "fracture" the rock.
The Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club says it's already legal in Illinois and without regulation. That's why it agreed to a deal with business leaders on legislation it says would strictly control fracking.
Others - like Carbondale Attorney Rich Whitney with the group Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment - say that was a sell-out: “The problems is so much of the focus went to that and trying to compromise with the industry people, they gave up half a loaf before they even started the fight… and it's our view you have to start by demanding the whole loaf. Right? If you fight for the whole loaf, you may end up with half a loaf. But if you start out fighting for half a loaf, you end up with crumbs."
Whitney says problems with the proposed regulations range from allowing fracking too close to lakes and water wells to stripping municipalities of control over the drilling. Whitney says Illinois should put a moratorium on fracking, so there's time to study the potential consequences.
SAFE's Annette McMichael says in Johnson County, officials indicate that mineral rights for 51% of the land has been leased by the oil and gas industry.
Hydraulic fracturing is the process of releasing oil and natural gas from rock deposits underground by fracturing the shale formations with a stream of water, sand, and other chemicals pumped into the ground.
Governor pat Quinn highlight hydraulic fracturing, during his state budget message, as a means of providing good jobs in the southern part of the state where most of the fracking is expected to take place.