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American Dream Betrayed

Your Guide To Illinois Fracking

"Fracking is coming to Illinois," Crain's reports.

"The state, which has sat on the sidelines as new technologies using high-pressure fracturing techniques to extract natural gas have launched energy booms in long-dormant states, could see a boomlet of its own in coming months."

Sounds great, huh? Not so fast.

"A bill moving through the Illinois General Assembly would create new regulations for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial oil and gas drilling technique that is set to begin in the state next month," Progress Illinois reports. "Fracking has come under scrutiny after being linked to polluted water supplies in several states."

Southern Illinois is already bracing for it.

"Currently there are companies, intent on extracting natural gas using the technique, purchasing mineral rights in Southern Illinois," Les Winkeler wrote in The Southern a year ago. "Frankly, that scares me."

And from a Tribune report in January:

Nature lovers travel in droves to Starved Rock State Park to admire its many wonders, including 425 million-year-old rock formations composed of St. Peter sandstone.

Sand mining companies also have been drawn to the area, which is rich in deposits of the fine crystalline material that makes up the great bluffs along the Illinois River.

On Thursday afternoon, the LaSalle County Board is to vote on a controversial proposal by one of the companies, Mississippi Sand LLC, to operate a mine on what is now a stretch of farmland just outside the east gates of Starved Rock.

If the company wins board approval and gets permission from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Mississippi Sand plans to harvest and sell the sand to oil and gas drilling companies to be used in a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." The rise of fracking has been a boon to the sand mining business in the Midwest.

Though sand and gravel mining and plans for more are not uncommon in LaSalle County, opponents say the latest proposed project would jeopardize the ecosystem and deter tourism at Starved Rock, which was visited by 2.2 million people in 2010.

The proposal was approved.

* * *

ProPublica has done the nation's most extensive reporting on fracking. Click through and marvel at their deep, thorough and innovative work.

And by innovative, we mean stuff like this to go along with the hard-core data analysis:

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The 2010 film Gasland, shown at Cannes among other prestigious locations, is still getting screenings around Illinois. Here's the trailer:

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(I can't vouch for the film's claims; I have neither seen it nor researched it. To get an idea of some of the pushback over alleged errors, check out Gasland's Wikipedia entry.

* * *

Finally, Bloomberg reports:

"The Obama administration will speed permitting for oil- and natural-gas drilling on federal lands to lure more fracking and rebut Republican and industry complaints the government is blocking energy production."

Or, as the Washington Post's Stephen Slomberg put it after last January's State of the Union speech: "President Obama wants to frack."

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Comments welcome.




Permalink

Posted on April 5, 2012


MUSIC - It's Us Against The Motherfucking Machine.
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BOOKS - Abe Lincoln: Good For The Jews.

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