Environmentalists lost a four-year fight when Illinois regulators signed the first fracking permit to Woolsey Operating Company on Aug. 31, 2017, reports The Pointer.
Fracking, a drilling method in which drilling penetrates a mile into the earth, then turns to drill horizontally for several more, is controversial to many because of the toxins released into the ground during the process. The drilling spot, referred to as a well, is pressurized with a mixture of water, sand and other chemicals until small cracks form in the underground stone. After the well is set up, oil or gas is extracted, particularly methane, which is used for fuel.
The Illinois drilling company, located in White County, plans to take advantage of the newly signed permit and move forward as quickly as possible with the operation. Although many nearby Illinois residents are opposed to the decision, their voices have been silenced when the state sided with Woolsey. The concerns include environmental effects as well as the proposal itself, which objectors say was shady in its completion.
Judy Stone, author of an article published in Forbes about the health hazards of fracking, says, “A cough, shortness of breath and wheezing are the most common complaints of residents living near fracked wells. Toxic gases like benzene are released from the rock by fracking.”
Benzene is a known carcinogen that has been linked to leukemia, lymphoma and aplastic anemia.
Many people are not aware of the risks that fracking poses to human health and the environment.
“West Virginia researchers found endocrine-disrupting chemicals in surface waters near wastewater disposal sites,” Stone writes. “These types of chemicals can hurt the developing fetus even when present at very low concentrations,” she writes, citing an article published by Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).
“Another Hopkins/Geisinger study looked at records of almost 11,000 women with newborns who lived near fracking sites and found a 40 percent increased chance of having a premature baby and a 30 percent risk of having the pregnancy be classified as ‘high-risk,’ though they controlled for socioeconomic status and other risk factors,” Stone writes.
The spills caused by fracking is also a serious issue.
“A newly released study found 6,648 spills in just four states over the past 10 years,” says Stone, a number that is significantly downplayed by the Environmental Protection Agency, which only reported 457 in eight states over a six-year period.