Fracking foes cheer Madigan for moratorium

CHICAGO – Opponents of high-volume gas and oil drilling are welcoming news that powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan supports a temporary ban on the practice.

The Chicago Democrat said Wednesday that he supports a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, called “fracking,” over legislation that would regulate the practice.

Fracking uses high-pressure mixtures of water, sand and chemicals to break rock formations to release oil and natural gas. Opponents say it causes air and water pollution; industry says it’s safe.

Bruce Ratain is state policy associate at Environment Illinois. He says Madigan is demonstrating “real leadership” by recognizing a moratorium “as the only true way to protect public health and the environment” from fracking.

Madigan didn’t explain his position, but referred to Pennsylvania, where there have been complaints about water pollution from fracking.

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