The head of the Ecology Action Center in Normal says McLean County should not rush ahead to allow a controversial method of oil extraction. The County Board plans to study the issue of easing local regulation on oil exploration and removal at the request of some members who say drilling in southern McLean County would bring economic benefits. But, Michael Brown says legislation covering hydraulic fracturing or fracking did not quite make it through the General Assembly this spring.
Brown says there is a lack of rules on oversight of the process of injecting liquids deep into the ground to free up oil and bring it to the surface and a lack of transparency in what chemicals the industry uses in the process. County Board member George Wendt claims the practice has become more sophisticated and safe and groundwater supplies are far above the depth that drills would need to go. Brown says groundwater is a precious resource that needs to be treated carefully. Brown says it is possible fracking could be a safe practice.
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