Cracks form in cooperation over fracking

SHARE Cracks form in cooperation over fracking

After environmentalists, lawmakers and the oil industry got together last year to draft Illinois’ first regulations for hydraulic fracturing, the rest was supposed to be easy.

But six months after the regulations were signed into law, The Associated Press reports the spirit of cooperation is fraying: Environmentalists worry that state regulators are weakening the rules agreed to at the bargaining table. Industry officials say some policies could stall oil -and gas-drilling permits, and the state Department of Natural Resources insists it’s working hard to be fair to everyone involved.

Hydraulic fracturing uses a mixture of water, chemicals and sand to crack rock formations thousands of feet underground to release trapped oil and gas. Opponents fear it will pollute and deplete groundwater or cause health problems. The industry insists the method is safe and will create thousands of new jobs.

Thomas Frisbie of the Chicago Sun-Times writes “It seems Illinois needs a full-fledged drilling rig if it wants to extract acceptable rules on fracking in the state.”

Photo: Associated Press/Seth Perlman

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