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Fracking and pollution

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SALINE COUNTY, IL -

Controversy continues over drilling and fracking for oil and natural gas after a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council was released.

The report says vertical and horizontal oil extraction could pollute toxic chemicals into the air and cause a series of negative health effects ranging from birth defects to cancer.

The Oil and Gas Association says these claims are laughable and simply not true.

Activist Georgia de la Garza grew up in Southern Illinois and loves the landscape but says big oil companies are changing it.

She fights against them because she says their rigs are infringing on the homes and health of the people in Saline County.

"They're leaking benzene and formaldehyde, and we know benzene, it's a known carcinogenic that causes leukemia," said de la Garza.

Brad Richards with the Oil and Gas Association says these are ridiculous claims.

"Obviously we don't think we're putting people at risk for cancer as part of oil and gas development," said Richards.

He says energy companies have gone above and beyond to keep communities safe.

"We negotiated in Illinois air emissions regulations that actually go above and beyond federal regulation," said Richards.

De la Garza says there are no set of regulations that could convince her fracking of any kind is safe, or economically beneficial.

"We have an opportunity of eco-tourism here, and we have a growing grape agriculture here, and other industry here. Why aren't we tapping into that? Why are we just focusing on coal and gas, oil and gas, when the profits aren't staying here in Illinois in the first place," said de la Garza.

She says she would rather her state tap into the resources above ground, instead.

The Governor of New York banned fracking in his state on Wednesday because of these environmental concerns.

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