CHICAGO - Fracking is legal in Illinois, but local ordinances can make it nearly impossible to make a reality. Illinois hosts abundant natural gas resources and those who want to tap into those resources are pushing in the state legislature this spring. For several months, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has been meeting with fracking industry reps as well as environmentalists, Crain's Greg Hinz reports:
The issue is hydraulic fracking — an energy extraction method that could give new life to long-depressed Downstate coal country but also has raised considerable concern from green-energy groups here about possible damage to water supplies and related environmental woes.
Ms. Madigan's office has led quiet talks for several months between the two sides. While no deal has been struck yet, advocates are eager to get started, given the flood of jobs and tax revenue that fracking has generated in the Dakotas, Texas and other regions.
Just last week, a coalition of business and labor groups formed a new organization to push legislation in the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly.
GROW-Illinois — short for Growing Resources and Opportunity for the Workforce in Illinois — includes the Illinois Petroleum Council, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Trucking Assn. on one side, as well as the Illinois AFL-CIO and U.S. Steel Corp.
Hinz writes that how AG Madigan handles these important talks may weigh on a possible bid for governor in 2014.