Illinois: The New Home To Fracking?
Frac sand moving along a conveyor belt. This photo by Dimitris Vetsikas is licensed under CC0.

Illinois: The New Home To Fracking?

Illinois regulators ended a four-year feud as they signed the first fracking permit to Woolsey Operating Company on Aug. 31, 2017.

The argument between environmentalists and the oil drilling industry has been a long one and the decision came as a shock because the regulations put in to practice years before. Located in White County, the company plans to move quickly, hoping to have the well finished within a year.

Fracking consists of drilling a mile down in tight rock types and then turning the drill horizontally where they continue to drill for multiple miles. This drilling spot is known as the well. A mixture of water, sand and other products are then pressurized in the well to create very small cracking in the stone. Once set up correctly, the well is then used to extract natural gases. Methane is the most common because it is used as fuel.

The company submitted a permit in spring, however, it was quickly rejected due to inconsistency issues. With a revised permit, the company then refiled during the summer which was later accepted.

Many are opposed to the decision due to not only the environmental effects but the proposal itself having many problems. Many believe the proposal was incomplete and unsettling.

When students of The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, specifically residents of Illinois, were asked about the topic many were unsure and even unaware of the situation.

Many of the concerns of fracking revolve around the emissions of fumes, and the potential contamination of the groundwater and soil near the wells.

Judy Stone, a contributor to Forbes, writer of the article “Fracking Is Dangerous To Your Health — Here’s Why” stated in the article, “A cough, shortness of breath and wheezing are the most common complaints of residents living near fracked wells. Toxic gases like benzene are released from the rock by fracking.”

However, many argue that it is only when safety and waste precautions are not met that fracking can become harmful.

While environmentalists and residents of Illinois continue to fight, the well is expected to start running in 2018.

 

Kallie Fowler

reporter

kfowl429@uwsp.edu

 

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