It’s a good thing someone had a camera to capture this scene: Republicans, Democrats, Chicagoans, Downstaters, industry groups, and environmentalists all in one place to celebrate a proposal to regulate hydraulic fracturing. That’s the practice of shooting chemicals into the ground to force out oil and gas; “fracking” for short.
“We’d like to compliment the industry for agreeing to some of the most – if not the most – significant industry standards within the United States; and the environmental coalition for acknowledging the hard work and the concessions of the industry,” said State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), the chief sponsor of the bill, at a Capitol rotunda news conference.
Mark Denzler of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association said in addition to the environmental considerations, there are three benefits: “No. 1: it’s going to create jobs –high-paying jobs. It’s going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and it’s going to lead to a low cost of energy for many consumers and businesses for many decades to come.”
Is it all too good to be true? Only one of the speakers at the celebration dared express a discouraging word: “We don’t want fracking,” said Ann Alexander, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, after the ceremony. “We think it is unwise to commence fracking, which is so poorly understood, and needs so much more scientific investigation, before you can really say you understand what kind of protections are necessary. But we don’t get to make that decision. A decision is already being made whether we like it or not.”
The governor’s office released a statement quoting the governor as praising the economic benefits and environmental protections in the legislation, adding, “While there is more work to be done, this proposal moves us forward.”
(Posted 2/22/2013 at 8:56am, Illinois Radio Network)