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Poll Shows Southern Illinoisans Split on Hydraulic Fracturing


A poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute shows that opinion is split on hydraulic fracturing.

The poll shows that about 40 percent of people think that the economic benefits need to be encouraged while 40% said that the environmental risks are too high with fracking.  The poll also showed that 1 in 5 people are undecided on the issue, despite that nearly 90% of people have some amount of knowledge of fracking.  The Institute's director David Yepsen says these numbers show that more knowledge is needed for the public to decide.
Hydraulic Fracturing is an extraction process used for both oil and gas wells where a fluid mixture of water, chemicals, and sand is injected into a well under high pressure to break up shale that contains oil or gas deposits.  Environmentalists are concerned about the impact the waste fracking solution will have on fresh water supplies.  The process uses millions of gallons of fresh water to frack a single well.  A law to allow fracking in Illinois passed in the spring session and signed in June. It is considered, by the industry, to be the strictest fracking regulations in the country. The state is currently working through the permitting process.  It will likely be after the first of the year before the state is ready to issue permits for high volume hydraulic fracturing.  The Illinois Oil and Gas Association conservatively estimates that energy companies have already invested more than $200-Million in obtaining mineral rights in a 17-county area of southern Illinois.

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute survey was of 403 registered voters in the 18 southernmost counties in Illinois from September 20 through October 2.  The poll has a margin of error of 4.9%.

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