(AP) Several southern Illinois counties are sampling the fruits of a land rush linked to a debated drilling practice, even as state lawmakers wrestle with how to regulate it.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars of fees have flowed in recent years into the coffers of Wayne and Hamilton counties from searches of title records, often by out-of-state people seeking prime parcels for exploration.
Locals believe the best is yet to come from the drilling technique commonly called "fracking."
Hydraulic fracturing uses high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack rock formations and release oil and natural gas.
Some environmentalists worry that could pollute. But Gov. Pat Quinn and the industry believe it could create by some estimates some 40,000 jobs.