Why we want fracking in Illinois

October 19, 2017

I live in southeastern Illinois, where I've operated our family farm for 27 years near Omaha, about 40 miles west of Evansville, Ind. My fellow farmers care about the land we so carefully manage, and the same can be said for the oil producers we've worked side by side with for decades here in the most active oil and gas region of the state.

This is precisely why one of my neighbors, Tom Harbour, village president of Enfield, population 625, recently told the Southern Illinoisan that "99 percent" of local residents support fracking. Folks who actually live where fracking would occur realize that although Illinois has problems, fracking isn't one of them. In fact, it could be part of the solution to the state's nightmarish financial mess. That's probably why Gov. Bruce Rauner isn't listening to the debunked anti-fracking claims made by Stephen Nickels of Illinois People's Action in a recent op-ed.

Illinois is on the verge of bankruptcy. Its residents are fleeing, and our public schools are the worst-funded in the country. Illinois is in dire need of an economic boost, and we need look no further than Ohio to see how fracking can provide it.

Property taxes on shale oil and gas production in Ohio have already generated more than $43 million in revenue for local municipalities in the early stages of Utica Shale development. Those figures are projected to swell to $250 million by 2026, and a huge chunk goes to public schools. Similar taxes on Illinois shale production could make an even bigger impact here, considering 62 percent of property taxes go directly to public school funding.

Read more on Crain's Chicago Business...

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