Mt. Vernon Register-News

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March 30, 2013

Legislature discusses fracking bill

(Continued)

Bost said the first phase of the bill he is co-sponsoring addressed any environmental concerns with the process.

“First (SAFE) said they were concerned about surface ground water and aquifers,”Bost said. “The language fixes any problems with that issue, as companies will have to test first, during and after. It also addresses the use of any chemicals they may be using. Then, the next thing (SAFE) cited is concerns with the fault line. We brought in experts from around the nation, specialists that understand the shale plate here. Fracturing, both types, have never been known to be tied to any fault problem.”

Bost said the legislation answers all concerns brought forward by SAFE.

“But they said at no time would they sign off on any fracturing bill,” Bost said. “Even the Sierra Club and other environmental groups stood up in Springfield and said they now agree with the language on the regulation side.”

After moving from the regulation side of the legislation, work has been completed on the taxing side.

“We made it fee based to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency can recoup the costs of permitting,” Bost explained. “We did the same for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. There are several taxes in place, basically it sets in place taxes on a percentage of the oil brought out. ... The first year is one amount, and steadily goes up. When the well stops producing at a certain level, the taxes drop down again.”

Negotiations on the bill broke down when a third amendment was filed on the bill stating all those working on a well must be union members.

“There are only three companies that do this work,” Bost said. “They use highly-trained employees who have the training on the intensive technical aspects of the drilling. Yes, there will be laborers as well, but many of them are already in unions.”

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