First fracking measure of the year fizzles out, voters say no to Johnson County anti-fracking advisory question

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Map of oil and gas wells in Jackson County, IL

March 19, 2014

By Josh Altic

The first measure of the year seeking a ban on hydraulic fracturing, which was also the first local measure ever in the state of Illinois on this issue, was defeated on Tuesday, March 18. This measure was an advisory measure asking voters the following question:[1]

Shall the people’s right to local self government be asserted by Johnson County to ban corporate fracking as a violation of their rights to health and safety?[1][2]

If it had been approved, it would have put pressure on county commissioners to pass an ordinance prohibiting the contentious process of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, within county boundaries in order to prevent harmful health and environmental side effects that anti-fracking activists claim are a byproduct of the process. Of the 8,452 registered voters in Johnson County, 3,825 actually voted on this question, yielding a voter turnout of a little over 45 percent. The results showed almost three fifths of voters saying "no" to the question:[3]

Johnson County Fracking Measure
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No2,22358.12%
Yes 1,602 41.88%
Election results from Johnson County Election Department.

County Commissioner Ernie Henshaw was very pleased with the outcome of the ballot measure. He said, "There was a lot at stake with this proposition. Had it passed, it would have threatened jobs, diminished farming, and tied our county into expensive legal knots."[3]

Six more fracking ban measures have already been announced this year across four different states.

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