Support for high-volume hydraulic fracturing is stronger in Southern Illinois than in Northern Illinois, according to a new survey. Most of the opposition, says the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s John Jackson, is in Northern Illinois, far from where the practice would potentially be done. Water and chemicals are injected deep into the earth to force hard-to-get oil and gas deposits out. Supporters say it’s good for the economy, while opponents say it’s environmentally dubious.
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“We always are talking about economic development and jobs,” says Jackson, a visiting professor at the institute. “Anything that promises economic benefits, people tend to grab onto.” Jackson says in his 40-plus years in Southern Illinois, people are in need of positive economic news.