CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) says a remedy to high gas prices could be found by looking to Illinois’ own natural resources.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett reports, Kirk proposes research on harnessing natural gas from shale in the Illinois Basin, making tax credits for renewable energy permanent, speeding up the drilling permit process in the Gulf of Mexico and eliminating so-called small gasoline monopolies.

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LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett reports

Illinois is among six states where the average price for a gallon of gas has topped $4 and several more are close behind, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge.

Kirk would not offer a specific timeline on when his ideas could come to fruition or how much they would lower gas prices, but he said new sources must be sought immediately.

He pointed to shale deposits in the Illinois Basin, which rests under parts of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Kirk said the deposits are ripe for research, especially considering new technologies.

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Kirk could not detail those new technologies. But recently, hydraulic fracturing has been making headlines in other states. The drilling technique, also known as “fracking,” involves injecting water, sand and additives underground to create fractures to help free the gas.

Fracking is credited with unlocking more natural gas but criticized by some for possibly endangering water quality.

Kirk also said speeding up the offshore drilling permit process would help ease reliance on foreign oil.

After a moratorium of several months following the infamous Gulf oil leak last year, the Obama administration resumed issuing drilling permits earlier this year amid pressure from the industry and lawmakers. However, several big oil producers say they’re still waiting for permits to be approved.

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