HF in Illinois: All You Need to Know on a Single Fact-Sheet
The Illinois General Assembly completed its veto sessions last week, and one issue that was thought to be on the docket – but still did not come up – was a regulatory package for the continued use of hydraulic fracturing in Illinois.
As many of you know, environmental groups like our friends at Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment (SAFE) and Food & Water Watch, among others, have relentlessly pushed for a ban on this well-understood technology, which has been used safely thousands of times here in our state, and more than 1.2 million times across the country. Others have tried to be more subtle, calling for a “moratorium” until “further study” can be completed. Of course, either path is simply a means to the same end: blocking responsible energy development in Illinois (be sure to read our untangling of the “ban versus moratorium” issue by clicking here). And let’s not forget: oil and natural gas production has been a part of our state’s economy for roughly 150 years.
The most troubling part of these groups’ activities, however, is that they seem to be working – based as they are on half-truths, distortions, and debunked talking points. Carbondale, Carlyle, Anna, Alto Pass, Union and Jackson are among the cities and counties that have enacted or called for bans in recent months. But it bears repeating: The groups working behind the scenes to urge support for these bans are not interested in facts, and they are desperately hoping the public won’t demand a science-based discussion about shale development. Instead, they proliferate unfounded and unproven myths, not only to the people of Illinois, but also to our lawmakers – all in the hopes of advancing a carefully crafted agenda that would harm hardworking men and women across Illinois with lost jobs and less economic growth.
To help prevent these myths from being ingrained in the minds of Illinoisans as truth, EID has just released a new one-page fact sheet for Illinois that dispels some of the biggest misconceptions about hydraulic fracturing.
For example, opponents commonly claim that hydraulic fracturing contaminates groundwater. In addition to state regulators and independent experts from across the country concluding otherwise, even the U.S. EPA’s Lisa Jackson says that claim is not true. “In no case have we made a definitive determination that [hydraulic fracturing] has caused chemicals to enter groundwater,” Ms. Jackson said earlier this year. She made similar remarks a year before that, too.
And what’s this about the industry not disclosing what’s in hydraulic fracturing fluids? Well, hydraulic fracturing fluid is more than 99 percent water and sand, with the remaining one percent being additives that can vary depending on local geology. How can we know what additives are used, though? Well, for one, there’s this fact sheet that has lived on the Energy In Depth website for several years. Additionally, anyone can visit FracFocus.org and find a listing of the additives, including on a well-by-well basis within a searchable database.