Illinois legislators recently passed comprehensive fracking regulations that should open the state up to extensive new shale oil and gas exploration.
The state’s shale rush is so new one is actually sure how much fossil fuel it’s sitting on; one estimate puts gas reserves at between 1 and 8 trillion cubic feet. The state comprises the majority of the New Albany play, which also stretches into Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Here’s the map:
Opposition to the fracking bill was not as intense as it is likely to be in California, for reasons we’ve recently discussed. Fracking was already going on in Illinois, so environmentalists chose to get on board rather than attempt to block the method outright.
“We’re moving from essentially an unregulated situation where Illinois Department of Natural Resources had very little ability to structure what would happen in the state on fracking,” the National Resource defence Council’s Midwest director told WBEZ.
A story similar to Pennsylvania’s experience with fracking seems likely to play out in the Prairie State.
There will definitely be more money coming in to economically depressed parts of the state.
But potential job creation figures vary widely, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Julie Werneau.
The New Albany play also abuts a popular national forest, and overlaps lots of farmland that got destroyed by last year’s drought. Fracking requires large volumes of water, and there’s already concern about balancing needs.
Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.
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