Lawmakers in Springfield next spring could resurrect the issue of regulating natural gas extraction through the process nicknamed "fracking." A bill designed to regulate natural gas extraction stalled in the waning days of the General Assembly last spring and a proposed moratorium didn't materialize. Now, the business community is highlighting the potential economic impact of the environmentally-controversial process. Illinois State University Economics Professor David Loomis authored a report that says fracking could yield more than 47,000 jobs and $9 billion in economic development.
"This is one important missing puzzle piece that wasn't there before, but I think it gives them one more piece of credible information in which to rely on to make their best judgment."
The State Chamber of Commerce funded the study. Tom Wolf, the chamber's Energy Council Director, says he's optimistic a business-friendly compromise can be worked out next year. He calls environmentalists who oppose going forward "disingenuous" and says--with fracking--it's time to stop looking and start doing. Most of the New Albany shale believed contained in the state is in southern Illinois.
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