Fracking is here to stay, so what's next?


Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

INA, Ill. - The highly controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is back in the spotlight in our area.

The process uses intense water pressure to extract oil from the ground and it is coming to Southern Illinois.

Now people want to know what to expect when it begins.

Land owner Steve Launius was approached to lease his mineral rights.

He is holding off for now, but says he might change his mind as time goes on.

At first he had environmental concerns, but now he says he trusts the process.

Now he just wants to know what to expect when it hits his county.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity answered that question by visiting and researching an area in Ohio with similar geography and demographics that used the fracking process to extract oil.

Bill Stanhouse with the DCEO explained to a crowd that the first thing they noticed was an increase in truck traffic and stress on infrastructure.

But he says with the added traffic comes economic stimulation.

He says in Ohio, hotels, restaurants and shops all experienced an increase in sales.

"The Ace Hardware store owner says she has seen double digit increases in sales this past year, where most Ace Hardware stores are seeing somewhere between three and eight at the best," said Stanhouse.

Launius says the selling point for him is simple.

"It's jobs, jobs, jobs and that's something we desperately need here," said Launius.

He says he feels the added revenue in Illinois' small towns will make up for the added stress on infrastructure.

Stanhouse says the researched area in Ohio experienced a 100% increase in sales tax after allowing fracking.