Mt. Vernon Register-News

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March 30, 2013

Legislature discusses fracking bill

MT. VERNON — State Rep. Mike Bost says the latest fracking bill in the Legislature could mean jobs in Southern Illinois, if it doesn’t get derailed with amendments.

“We worked on this bill in phases,” Bost said. “First, we did a lot of research and learned a lot of information about fracking and the process. ... we worked on the taxing side ... and now the newest amendment added to it is to have all union labor on the sites.”

It has been a roller coaster of a ride for the bill, which was introduced by State Rep. John Bradley, with Bost as a chief co-sponsor. The bill, HB 2615 and was introduced on Feb. 21.

Since that time, additional bills have been filed which would place a moratorium on fracking.

Fracking is horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The process uses high pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack rock formations to release oil and natural gas. Vertical fracking has been used for decades in the oil industry, while horizontal fracking has been used for just over a decade.

One group in Illinois has also come forward to oppose the use of fracking — SAFE, which stands for Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment.

One such representative of the opposition, Vito Mastrangelo, went before the Rend Lake Conservancy Board last week, to “urge you not to make any sweetheart deals ... they use too much water.”

Also this week, SAFE held an anti-fracking rally in Carbondale, stating they believe the process will pollute air and water, urging the state to place a moratorium on the process.

“There is a moratorium on the table and we’d like students to call their legislators and tell them they have concerns about this and a moratorium is a good way to put the breaks on this and study the issue,” stated Tabitha Tripp of SAFE.

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