Ill. House committee unanimously approves fracking bill

May 22, 2013 at 10:25 AM
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 22 (UPI) -- An Illinois House committee unanimously approved a bill allowing the extraction of oil and gas using controversial hydraulic fracturing, known as "fracking."

The bill is expected to be voted on by the full House this week, and Gov. Pat Quinn has said he will sign it, the Chicago Tribune reported in Wednesday's print edition.

The bill was put together by lawmakers, advocates and representatives from labor and industry in a coalition assembled by Quinn several months ago.

The technology, also known as "fracking," uses sand, water and chemicals under pressure to crack layers of rock where deposits of oil and gas are trapped.

Supporters say "fracking" will bring jobs and investment. Opponents point to the potential of damage to the environment. Where hydraulic fracturing has been used in Pennsylvania, some residents in the affected areas have been able to set on fire their contaminated ground and tap water.

Under the bill, citizens can appeal permits and ask for public hearings.

During Tuesday's committee hearing Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox, who has directed two anti-fracking films, asked legislators if any of them had visited "fracking" sites.

When none of them said they had, he handed out copies of his first film, "Gasland." He asked them to watch it and visit "fracking" sites in Pennsylvania.

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