McLeansboro Times-Leader

Opinion

April 18, 2013

Fracking will boost our rural economy

In Washington, I chair the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

We have debates on how much regulation is too much, when does government harm the economy and are the strictest regulations that some propose even realistic?

"Fracking," as it has become known, is an oil and gas drilling technique that has been used for decades, including here in Illinois. Technology has just advanced to the point of making these natural resources that have been lurking underground now accessible.

I have met with people on both sides of the issue, but I'm always honest about my support for domestic production of oil and gas. Our increased use of fracking and new finds of natural gas supplies have moved our nation toward a more self-reliant point, but not completely.

However, we must continue to take advantage of these resources – and those of our friendly neighbors – if we are to maintain the low natural gas prices and moderate gasoline prices we currently are paying.

I am also a fervent proponent of allowing the states, who are really closest to the people affected, to be the final arbiter in environment rules and regulations. The staff of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois State Geological Survey are as educated as those at the U.S. EPA and probably have a better feel for the conditions on the ground here than someone in Washington, D.C.

I was pleased that a bipartisan agreement was introduced in the General Assembly that would regulate the fracking procedures in Illinois. Reps. (John) Bradley and (David) Reis both share constituents with me and are the lead sponsors in the Illinois House.

I urge Speaker (Michael) Madigan to bring their bill up for a vote without killer amendments attached. The state of Illinois, particularly rural areas that would benefit most from this legislation, would see an economic boost of potentially unprecedented levels. The whole state, and even the nation, will benefit as well.

Thousands of workers were on the job in Washington County during construction of the Prairie State Energy Campus. It is possible that the same could happen, not just at one site, but in many places from McLeansboro to Fairfield to Effingham.

I am not saying fracking should occur unregulated. The proposed legislation is perhaps the strictest of any state. But the industry still says they can make it work.

Let’s trust them to do right by their neighbors. Let’s pass a fracking regulations bill.

Let’s get more Illinoisans to work in the oil fields.

• John Shimkus represents the 15th Congressional District, which includes Hamilton County.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • No Headline Provided Rules impact everyone Editor: The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently released proposed rules for new coal-fired power plants that, under testimony from a Department of Energy official, admitted that this new rule requiring carbon

    April 16, 2014

  • More information on sales tax issue

    Recently the topic of the County School Facility Sales Tax has been introduced to Hamilton County residents by the local school district and the "Friends of Hamilton County Schools."

    March 13, 2014

  • Speak for animals

    I want to compliment Rick Hayes on his article of Jan. 31 regarding the dog found frozen, tied to a tree or fence, tangled, no food, fresh water (not ice) or dry bedding.

    March 13, 2014

  • Girl Scouts celebrate 102nd anniversary Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will join more than 3.2 million Girl Scouts across America in celebrating the 102nd anniversary of Girl Scouting the week of March 9 through 15. Locally, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will celebrate the 102nd anniv

    March 5, 2014

  • EPA can't give up ground on biofuels Together with eight other lawmakers, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) recently introduced a bill to eliminate the mandate for corn-based ethanol. This proposal comes just weeks after the Environmental Protection Agency annou

    February 12, 2014

  • Colleges stop firearm training Editor: I see the local junior colleges are offering conceal-carry classes. Do they not understand there are many people who have invested thousands of dollars in education to develop quality programs of instruction for citizens who wish to obtain a

    February 12, 2014

  • Is current taxing of farm ground fair? To the editor: This letter was sent to the Times-Leader to address the issue of property taxes. To sum it up, a few pay too much and the rest pay little or nothing. How can that be? Well, consider this. We live in an area where many of the homes and

    January 29, 2014

  • Farm owners not paying enough taxes By TOM MATHEWS JR. Wayne County Press Haven't exactly made myself popular with farmers in recent years, suggesting they are not paying enough in property taxes on their farmland. And clearly, they are not, thanks to the successful efforts of the Ill

    January 29, 2014

  • Where's representation for my view on zoning? To the editor: Do you know that there is a new zoning code for the city of McLeansboro? What do you know about it? Here are some things that I know. 1. I have lived in this county my entire life. I moved out of the city limits when I was 17. 2. I hav

    January 22, 2014

  • Help build educated, employed communities Along with the 2014 GED test change is coming positive change to the GED program at Southeastern Illinois College. The world is changing, and it's taking adult learners with it. GED Testing Service (www.gedtestingservice.com) states that 4 million U

    January 15, 2014

AP Video