Fracking comes to Illinois, jobs are on their way!


 

Illinois law makers recently passed legislation that they hoped would bring thousands of jobs to Southern Illinois.

On May 31, 2013, Illinois lawmakers approved some of the nation’s toughest fracking regulations.   The recent legislation governs energy companies as they perform hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Fracking uses a high-pressure mix of water, sand, and/or gravel to crack rock formations deep underground and release oil and natural gas.  Energy companies are looking at the New Albany shale formation in Southern Illinois where they believe there are significant oil reserves 5,000 feet or more below the surface.  Even though actual drilling isn’t likely to start for at least a few months, the first step for potential drillers is a registration and permit application process that could take a few months.

State records indicate that high volume oil drilling has already begun in Illinois, even in the absence of regulations.  Campbell Energy Group submitted a report to the Department of Natural Resources voluntarily disclosing that it used 640,000 gallons of water during hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, of a well in White County.

The new regulations require that using 300,000 gallons or more constitutes high volume fracking.

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In Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, fracking has brought an economic boom in a time when most of the nation is suffering through one of the worst recessions in history.

The current fracking regulations were crafted with the help of industry and some environmental groups which is an unusual collaboration.  The legislation sponsor, Mike Frerichs, a democrat said stakeholders “sat down for hundreds and thousands of hours” to hammer out the issue.  “These are tough regulations that are going to protect and preserve our most valuable resources in our state.”  He told floor members, “We are going to increase home produced energy in our state in one of the most environmentally friendly ways possible.”

While there remain many environmental concerns, the Illinois legislature has taken steps to help improve the economic climate by bringing jobs to Southern Illinois.