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Illinois House Continues Battle Over Fracking Bill

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A worker cleans and lubricates the head of the machine, after the stimulation hydraulic fracturing of one segment of the well is finished, at Southwestern Energy Co.'s natural gas production site at the Marcellus Shale formation in Camptown, Pennsylvania, U.S. (Julia Schmalz/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A worker cleans and lubricates the head of the machine, after the stimulation hydraulic fracturing of one segment of the well is finished, at Southwestern Energy Co.’s natural gas production site at the Marcellus Shale formation in Camptown, Pennsylvania, U.S. (Julia Schmalz/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Election Returns

SPRINGFIELD, IL (IRN) - Hydraulic fracturing – the process of forcing chemicals into the ground to get at gas and oil – could be a “gold rush” for Illinois, in the words of one state House Republican, if only the controlling Democrats would let a much-ballyhooed bill announced in March move.

House Republicans used one of the few weapons available to them in Springfield – the news conference – to complain. State Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) says the bill needs to pass as soon as possible.

What’s the harm in waiting until later in May, later this year, or sometime next year?

“I’ve got people that can’t figure out how they’re going to provide for their electric bill,” says Bost. “I’ve got people that are trying to raise children. They’re looking to leave to other states. Family farms have fallen by the wayside because there’s not enough jobs to support it. What’s the harm? The harm is we’ve already lost 177,000 jobs here in the state of Illinois. How much longer are we going to continue down this path, and how much longer are we going to allow the games that are played here to starve people to death?”

Democratic leaders say the concerns raised since last month are safety-minded, though Republicans believe it’s game-playing.

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