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Illinois ‘fracking’ off to slow start amid oil-price slump

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Fracking is off to a feeble start in Illinois as slumping oil prices and the rigors of Illinois’ new regulations have energy interests waiting on the sidelines.

It’s been two months since a legislative panel approved long-awaited rules for high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which uses a mixture of water, chemicals and sand to crack open rock and release oil and natural gas deep underground.

But the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says only one company has registered to pursue such drilling, and none has applied for an actual permit.

The lack of immediate movement contrasts sharply with a land rush in recent years in southern Illinois. Energy interests spent millions of dollars snapping up oil and mineral leases for hundreds of thousands of acres to prospect for oil and natural gas.

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