The promise of jobs and money is floating from the idea of getting natural gas out of Southern Illinois through hydraulic fracturing. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce commissioned a study on the economic impact of a project to extract natural gas from the New Albany region. Illinois State University economics professor David Loomis, who is also a consultant, says the plans could mean up to 47,312 jobs, with an economic impact of more than $9 billion.
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Annette McMichael, of Southern Illinoisans against Fracturing Our Environment (SAFE), says the numbers are trumped up. She points to a recent story from Ohio saying Ohio Gov. John Kasich has become bearish on fracking, claiming many of the promised jobs being performed by non-Ohioans. Tom Wolf, the state chamber’s executive director for energy, cautions against believing what anti-fracking groups say, adding the process would be strictly regulated, and nobody would frack without a permit.