WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US state of Illinois must cease all oil and gas hydraulic fracturing activities because the process damages the environment, a Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll showed.
“Almost half of Illinois voters — 48.6 percent — tend to oppose hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ because of concerns about the environment,” the Institute said on Monday. “By contrast, 31.8 percent believe that fracking should be encouraged for its economic benefits, and 20 percent are not sure about the issue.”
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a process that uses high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas from underground shale formations.
“There are 53.5 percent of Chicago and 51 percent of Chicago suburban voters who believe the practice should be encouraged, while only 29 percent believe it should be encouraged for economic purposes,” the Institute reported.
“Downstate, 41.3 percent say fracking should be discouraged and 38.3 percent say it should be encouraged,” it added.
The Institute said voter opinions are defined along political party they lines.
“Among Democrats, 19.7 percent believe that fracking should be encouraged, while 54.8 percent of Republicans want to encourage the practice,” the Institute said. “Similarly, a majority of Democrats (61.9 percent) and a minority of Republican (28.8 percent) voters believe that fracking should be discouraged due to environmental impacts”.
The poll included a representative sample of 1000 registered voters across, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is part at the Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and works with Illinois elected officials and others to create and institute public policy changes.