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. But other advocates say only an outright ban will do.
Deep underground in southeastern Illinois lies the New Albany Shale … potentially laced with riches in the form of natural gas.
Hydraulic fracturing uses a mixture of chemicals and a LOT of water to “fracture” the rock.
The Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club says it’s already legal here –
and without regulation. That’s why it agreed to a deal with business leaders on legislation it says would strictly control fracking.
Others 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.”
Carbondale Attorney Rich Whitney is with the group Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment.
“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.”
He says problems with the proposed regulations range from allow 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.