Ill. county to vote over 'fracking' prospects - FOX 32 News Chicago

Ill. county to vote over 'fracking' prospects

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By JIM SUHR
Associated Press

VIENNA, Ill. (AP) - Voters in far southern Illinois' Johnson County are getting ready to weigh in on the high-volume oil extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing.

A ballot measure up for a vote Tuesday isn't binding and essentially is meant to let county commissioners know where their constituents stand on the issue of "fracking."

The debate for months has dominated board meetings in a county that's long had among the state's highest unemployment rates, by many accounts turning neighbor against neighbor.

Fracking proponents there insist it could help the county's economy. Critics counter the drilling method's reliance on chemicals and vast amounts of water to free trapped oil pose irreversible environmental risks to groundwater and public health.

State lawmakers approved fracking last year, though the Department of Natural Resources still must adopt rules.

The ballot's question reads: "Shall the people's right to local self-government be asserted by Johnson County to ban corporate fracking as a violation of their rights to health, safety and a clean environment?"

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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