Illinois House Republicans Urging Vote on Fracking Proposal

House Republicans say now is the time to vote on a measure that would regulate fracking in Illinois.

Environmental groups oppose the controversial process of high-volume drilling for oil and gas, but supporters say Illinois needs the jobs it will create.

Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hill) said lawmakers, environmentalists, and the oil industry worked “day and night” to draft a fracking proposal.

Yet since it was formally introduced in February, there hasn’t been much movement, which has Republicans like Reis frustrated.

REIS: “There’s a whole host of reasons why things don’t move in this town. A lot of times, it’s for leverage or negotiations, or whatever. But the bill itself is ready to go. The industry is ready to go.”

The entire industry might not be ready, though. A revision to the original deal would require a licensed well-driller at each fracking site.

That has the labor unions and the drilling industry upset, as well as Republicans, who say no other state requires this.

But Ed Maher said since drinking water could be contaminated from a fracking gone wrong…

MAHER: “We’ve got one chance to regulate this properly because if there’s an accident. So we’ve got to make sure we do this right. If this takes a little bit longer to do that, then I think that it’s worth this.”

Maher is with the operating engineers’ union, whose members would be hired as a result of the change.

—Chris Slaby

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