INA, Ill. (July 30, 2013) – Nearly every seat was filled Tuesday in the Rend Lake College Theater as approximately 280 people travelled to Ina to participate in a conference revolving around hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in the region.
The conference was organized by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) in partnership with RLC, Southeastern Illinois College (SIC) and Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC). It featured a variety of speakers, from State Representative John Bradley to local government officials and business people.
RLC President Terry Wilkerson started the conference with words of welcome.
“I want to thank the presenters for putting this on, getting it established and working with us,” said Wilkerson. “If you look at our community college district, we encompass a wide area that could be used for hydraulic fracturing. This conference is being held here as a part of our mission. We want to partner together with these other environmental agencies for the betterment of our community and to be industry partners in the future.”
Also speaking in the morning was Illinois State Representative John Bradley.
“Fracking has been going on in Illinois for decades, and the concern was that hydraulic fracturing would come to Illinois without proper regulation, so we went forward and created regulations in the industry, but we didn’t stop there,” said Bradley. “We wanted to ensure that locals will be involved in this job industry, so we passed more regulation.”
Of the conference, Bradley said that cooperation within the industry will bring good things in the future.
“This has really been a team effort involving many in the environmental industry working together,” Bradley said. “I anticipate that, in the future, we will be providing jobs for our communities [through hydraulic fracturing]. Let’s get this job done and let’s get it done right. I want to compliment Rend Lake College on their involvement in this issue.”
Also speaking in the morning was Mary Morissey-Kochanny of the Office of the Attorney General.
“The goal of our office is to address the concerns of hydraulic fracturing, and one of the biggest concerns is water contamination,” said Morissey-Kochanny. “My children and grandchildren will be drinking water in Illinois for decades to come and we want to make sure that no contamination occurs.”
Other major environmental concerns included in her speech were air quality, potential for earthquakes, traffic and pollution, health and safety of residents, quality of life and enforcement of regulations.
After a morning of presenters that included representatives from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Geological Survey, local economic development groups and government entities, a lunch was provided by RLC and several break-out sessions were hosted throughout the campus to answer lingering questions.
For more information about the Fracking Conference, contact Kim Watson of the DCEO at 618-993-7630.