State News
7:08 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Fracking regulation bill advances out of the House

It's been three months since business and environmental groups announced an agreement to regulate hydraulic fracturing, the controversial oil and gas extraction process. As IPR’S Chris Slaby reports, the Illinois House finally voted to approve those regulations Thursday night.
Advocates pointed to a study by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, which says the state could gain up to 45-thousand jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity.

There were also environmentalist supporters, like Representative Ann Williams, a Democrat from Chicago. She says the choice wasn't between fracking and no fracking in Illinois.

“The choice is this: fracking in Illinois with no regulation, or fracking in Illinois with the tightest, most stringent regulations possible.”

But even claims of the toughest fracking regulations in the country were not enough to sway the handful of opponents, like Democratic Representative Robyn Gabel of Evanston. She says there are no laws that can prevent the dangers that might come with fracking, like water and land contamination.

“Our future is in renewables. We need incentives to de-carbonize the environment and reduce pollution that affects climate instability.”

The House overwhelmingly supported the measure on a vote of 108 to 9. Similar support is expected Friday in the Senate. And Governor Pat Quinn says he wants the legislation “as soon as possible.”