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Benton-area fracking meeting set for Saturday


March 20, 2014 7:00 am  •  By Becky Malkovich


BENTON — Franklin County residents concerned about the possibility of high-volume horizontal fracturing coming into their backyards will gather in Benton Saturday.

The community meeting on fracking came about when dozens of residents in central Franklin County, including residents of a Benton neighborhood, received letters from Woolsey Energy in reference to seismic surveys the company planned to conduct on land where it holds oil and gas mineral leases.

Company representatives attended a recent meeting of the Benton City Council to discuss the surveys used in oil and gas exploration. While the possibility of fracking was not introduced by the representatives, Woolsey is one of the largest leaseholders in the region and is expected to use the controversial process.

Rocky Morris was one of the residents who received a letter concerning the seismic survey which involves the use of explosives. He and other neighbors have been investigating the process and saw the need for an informational meeting regarding the subject.

“The meeting is an open discussion on fracking in Franklin County. We have invited some legal professionals and others who have been involved in educating the public on fracking issues,” Morris said. “The homeowners have got questions and we hope to be able to give some answers.”

Two representatives from Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environments are expected to speak at the meeting, he said.

The meeting “is an exchange of information. We started with just one or two people and now there are 50 to 60 of us seeking answers,” Morris said. “We want to know what fracking is, what are the hazards of it, and how will it affect us and where we live. We want to cover the basics of the process all the way up to the effects of a fracking boom.”

Concerned residents are invited to attend the meeting at 7 p.m. Saturday in Kiwanis Hall in Benton.

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