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VIENNA, IL (AP) – Voters in southern Illinois’ Johnson County have rejected a ballot referendum that could have prompted the county’s governing board to restrict a form of oil drilling.
 
The ballot measure involving hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was defeated by a 600-vote margin. More than 2,220 people voted against the provision, while about 1,600 supported it.
 
The non-binding referendum was meant to advise the Johnson County Commission whether it should resist efforts to open the county to fracking. The process involves blasting rock formations deep underground with water, sand and chemicals to release trapped oil and gas.
 
The issue for months has hijacked the County Commission meetings, pitting neighbor against neighbor.
Annette McMichael of Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment says it’s unclear where the anti-fracking effort in the county goes from here.
Published in Local News
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - It's the final day to submit public comment on proposed rules for high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois.
Environmentalists say thousands of comments have been submitted about the process known as hydraulic fracturing. The Southern Illinoisan reports the final number of written comments will be tallied after the public comment period ends Friday.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will use the comments to evaluate possible rule changes. A panel of legislators will give final approval.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed regulations into law last year that were hailed as among the toughest in the nation.
Supporters say fracking will create thousands of jobs. Opponents fear it could pollute water resources.
Published in Local News
Saturday, 28 December 2013 10:51

Pro-gas interests decry NY inaction on fracking

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — As another year closes with a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York and no timetable for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to decide whether to lift it, drilling interests have all but given up on the state for the near future.

Cuomo has said he wants his health and environmental commissioners to take all the time they need to decide whether fracking can be done safely. Dozens of towns have enacted their own moratoriums in case the state does approve fracking.

Industry and landowners hoping to profit from leases are suing in state courts over town bans and the state's stalled regulations.

But many landowners want Cuomo to ban fracking. Organic dairy farmer Kathie Arnold says the risks of pollution and increased truck traffic outweigh any short-term financial gains.

Published in National News

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard wants to allow barges filled with fracking wastewater to ply the nation's rivers on their way toward disposal. Many environmentalists are horrified, but industry groups say barge transport has its advantages.

Critics of the plan say that if there was an accident, it could threaten the drinking water supply of millions of people. They also cite the uncertainty around what's in that toxic mix.

The Coast Guard is proposing to address that by requiring chemical testing of each barge load before shipment.

The wastewater now is usually disposed of by truck or rail. A government report notes that poses more risk for accidents than shipping by barge.

The industry says far greater amounts of toxic chemicals are already being moved by barge, including oil drilling waste.

Published in National News

Illinois environmental officials say it will be at least a year before the process of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" is conducted in the state.

The Springfield State Journal reports the new state regulations for the practice are nearly complete.  

Marc Miller, the director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, says it will take months before permits are issued.  That's because the state still needs to hold public hearings.  

Miller says no companies have registered to conduct fracking since the state started sign-ups last month.  

Fracking uses a high-pressure mixture of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack underground rock formations and release oil and natural gas.

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Companies that want to perform high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois may begin registering with the state.

But it will be several months before companies may apply for a permit to use the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law regulating fracking in July. It created a two-step permit application process that requires companies to first register with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

IDNR won't accept applications for drilling permits until a legislative committee approves rules. Spokesman Chris McCloud says that process - which will include public hearings - will take months.

Fracking uses high-pressure mixtures of water, chemicals and sand to crack rock formations deep underground to release oil and gas.

Opponents fear it will pollute and deplete water resources.

 

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn, a manufacturers' association and representatives from the oil and gas industry are praising a measure to regulate high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois.

   The House overwhelmingly approved the plan Thursday.

   The bill outlines rules that energy companies would have to follow during hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

   The executive vice president of the Illinois Oil and Gas Association says efforts on the compromise bill were "monumental. The head of the Illinois Manufacturing Association says it'll create jobs.

   Ann Alexander is a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council who helped craft the regulations. She says it's good to see Illinois moving forward with public protections.

   Opponents worry it would cause air and water pollution and deplete water resources.

 
Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he hopes a bill that would kick-start high-volume oil and gas drilling passes "swiftly" through the Illinois House and Senate after a House committee voted to send it to the full House.

The House Executive Committee voted 11-0 Tuesday to approve a measure regulating hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" - the use of high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack rock formations deep underground and release oil and natural gas.

Proponents say it's safe and would create jobs in cash-strapped southern Illinois. Quinn has promised to sign the bill.

Opponents worry that fracking could cause air and water pollution and deplete water resources.

They favor a two-year moratorium on the practice, but House and Senate bills calling for a pause have been stalled.

 
Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Several southern Illinois counties are sampling the fruits of a land rush linked to a debated drilling practice, even as state lawmakers wrestle with how to regulate it.

 

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of fees have flowed in recent years into the coffers of Wayne and Hamilton counties from searches of title records, often by out-of-state people seeking prime parcels for exploration.

 

Locals believe the best is yet to come from the drilling technique commonly called "fracking."

 

Hydraulic fracturing uses high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack rock formations and release oil and natural gas.

 

Some environmentalists worry that could pollute. But Governor Pat Quinn and the industry believe it could create by some estimates some 40,000 jobs.

Published in Local News
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - It isn't just Illinoisans who are closely watching a bill in the Illinois House that would regulate fracking. Missouri mining organizations have a keen interest, too.

The Southeast Missourian reports that the Missouri mining industry stands to gain from an increased need for silica sand, which is used in the process of large-scale hydraulic fracturing - or fracking.

Missouri is not an abundant resource of oil or natural gas, but it is a resource for silica sand. The silica sand is critical for the process of fracking.

Environmentalists in Missouri say there is concern that expanded sand mining will cause environmental damage.

The January 2013 Mineral Commodity Summary by the U.S. Geological Survey says Missouri is the sixth-largest producer of industrial sand and gravel.
Published in Local News
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