Fracking has become a hot topic in the last year or two. It's a topic that has now reached Jackson County.
Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment (S.A.F.E.) are urging residents of Jackson County to attend a meeting of the Jackson County Land Use & Economic Development Committee meeting. That meeting will take place at the Jackson County Courthouse at 4:30 p.m. on July 12.
Fracking in Jackson County is expected to be discussed at that meeting.
At the previous committee meeting, the committee requested that S.A.F.E. provide drafts on ban ordinances after it made a presentation to the committee.
"We have a legal team, and they created some city and county ordinances based on what other cities and counties have used,'' said Lucia Amorelli, a founding member of S.A.F.E. "The committee members already have that information. I think that this meeting is going to be the one where they could decide whether they are going to make a decision of whether or not to ask the whole board to support a ban. I think industry will be there as well, so it could be a pretty important meeting."
Amorelli said that S.A.F.E. was formed just a few months ago, but it has already made an impact.
"We've reached a lot of communities and we've shown a lot of documentary films and had a lot of community meetings,'' Amorelli said. "The community members that come to the meetings are concerned."
Amorelli said that finding a safer way for gas and oil companies to extract their product from the ground should be a key goal for everyone.
"Creating a safer way is the key,'' she said. "Right now the high volume hydraulic fracturing has no regulations. State's that have had it all have issues. Wherever fracking has been done it has been a big time problem. We're asking Governor Quinn to ban it or regulate it. "Right now there is a strong bill in the Illinois House that has strong regulations. If we have something like that it would be a huge help."
Amorelli went on to say that while companies may not have looked into fracking in Jackson County as of yet. That doesn't mean they won't.
"They may not try fracking in Jackson County,'' she said. "But a ban or ordinance would safeguard the county and it would set a precedent for other counties."
Fracking is a method gas and oil companies use to release natural gas and oil. It involves injecting a mix of water, sand and chemicals such as benzene and toluene, into the ground at high pressures to fracture rock layers and release natural gas and oil.
Page 2 of 2 - S.A.F.E., though, says the problem with fracking is that well casings are known to fail, releasing toxic chemicals, methane, heavy metals, radioactive elements, and salts from the rock layers, into aquifers.
The group also says on its website (www.DontFractureIllinois.org) that hydraulic fracturing is totally exempt from any federal laws designed to protect our water and air after a 2005 energy bill created loopholes to get out of the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Air Act.