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State of Illinois

IDNR Holds "Fracking" Hearing in Decatur

Sean Powers
Bill Poorman of Morton, Ill. speaks on Dec. 17, 2013 in Decatur during a forum organized by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on proposed rules for high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing.

Hundreds of people voiced their concerns about the process known as fracking during a meeting Tuesday  night in Decatur.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reviewing new rules for high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing, and it’s asking the public for feedback.  Among those speaking against fracking were membersof the  Illinois People's Action, a group that opposes fracking. Group member Bill Poorman lives right outside of Peoria, and he says the state’s fracking regulations need to include stricter penalties for companies that break the rules: "If we want enforcement to matter at all, we must make it more expensive to break the law than it is to follow it. We have got to punch them in the profit margin.”

Others expressed concerns about the lack of local control in issuing permits, the dangers of chemicals used in the fracking process, and the heavy use of local water. Sherry Procarione lives right outside of Decatur. She was the only person to speak in support of fracking, and she says there’s no need for additional rules: “And here in Macon County, we have the highest unemployment rate in the state of Illinois. I think it sounds really reasonable to me for some folks if they want to make a private contract to do so.”

The last of these meetings is Thursday evening in Carbondale, but the public can continue to comment online until January 3rd.

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