MADISON COUNTY, Ill. (KMOX) – Illinois has taken the first cautious steps to allow hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to be used in the search for natural gas supplies. Whether that’s good or bad news depends on whom you ask.

The Department of Natural Resources has opened the process of registering companies which wish to set up fracking operations, a move welcomed by Mark Denzler with the Illinois Manufacturers Association.

“Hydraulic fracturing has great opportunities for Illinois and for the entire United States, both in terms of creating jobs and creating long-term sources of energy,” Denzler said.

But Annette McMichael with Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment, or “SAFE,” says the risk is simply too great to find supplies which may not even exist.

“Heavy, heavy doses of methane gas and others metals are released into the air and that air pollution can travel for miles and miles,” she said.

McMichael also points to scientific research which shows injection wells used in the fracking process cause earthquakes, bad news for a state sitting atop two major fault lines.

The first permits for hydraulic fracturing could be issued in early 2014.


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