Marion County oil industry continues to pump needed funding for local schools

Seth Whitehead | Centralia Sentinel

Most folks in the Sa­lem area are prob­ably familiar with the dozens of ‘.’nodding donkeys” that dot the coun­tryside throughout Marion County. After all, these iconic oilfield contraptions have been pumping “black gold” in Marion County for decades.

But some folks may not be aware that they are also are literally pumping mil­lions of needed funds into the county’s public school systems.

Illinois oil production is assessed and taxed as real estate, similar to property taxes paid on a residential home. All of the revenue collected from this tax stays at the local level and goes directly to support the areas where oil is pro­duced: counties, villages, townships, cities, and most importantly, local schools.


In Marion County – which has been the state’s No. 2 oil producer in recent years – this tax generated $9.2 million in revenue from 2007 to 2013, accord­ing toa,2016 RCF Economic & Financial Consultingeco­nomic impact report. More than half of that revenue went to fund Marion County public schools.”

All told, ad valorem tax revenue from Illinois oil production generated $57.4 million in revenue for the state’s 40-plus oil produc­ing counties from 2007
to 2013. This revenue is absolutely critical, not only because Illinois public schools rely on local prop­erty tax revenue for more than 60 percent of their funding, but also because those schools simply can­not rely on our infamously debt-crippled state govern­ment to meet its relatively meager education funding obligations.

Illinois ranks dead last in public school funding that comes from the state. And due in large part to a pension crisis, that already inadequate public school funding has been pro-rated at 89 percent in recent years, placing even more burden at the local level, where too much has been asked in the first place.

This is just one example of why Illinois’ oil production industry is so important to the state – a fact upstate “Keep It In the Ground” activists should keep in mind the next time they suggest the oil industry should be done away with entirely.

For more on the Illinois oil industry’s contributions to the state’s economy, check out RCF Economic & Financial Consulting’s economic impact report.

Seth Whitehead, Executive Director Illinois Petroleum Resources Board

IDNR Report January 11, 2019

Active wells (does not include TA wells)

Production                 22,022

Injection                       6,493

Total                           28,515


TA wells

Production                 3,511

Injection                        381

Total                           3,892


Wells in Plugging & Restoration Fund

Production                 2,624

Injection                     1,150

Total                           3,774


Permit Activity:

Production well permits issued YTD – 12

UIC well permits issued YTD – 9

Other permits (Waste Hauler, etc.) issued YTD – 7


Production well applications since September 1, 2014

Received – 1,715

Issued or denied – 1,661


UIC well applications since September 1, 2014

Received – 1,778

Issued or denied – 1,747


Wells plugged

Production wells YTD – 0

Injection wells YTD – 0

Production wells re-activated YTD – 51

Veteran ‘oilmen’ show LCC museum

Tom Compton | Crawford County Daily News

The newest class of Leadership Crawford County recently had the opportunity to learn about Illinois and Crawford County’s oil history at the Oblong Oil Field Museum.

The visit included a personalized tour by longtime oil man John Larrabee of Larrabee OilCo., Oblong. Larrabee has been a longtime promoter and contributor to the museum. Also speaking to the group were Seth Whitehead and Sam Barbee.

Whitehead is the new executive director of the Illinois Petroleum Resources Board. Whitehead comes to the IPRB after a four-and-a-half-year stint at FTI Consulting, where he was most recently Team Lead of Energy in Depth, a research and education campaign focused on media outreach with regard to shale development across the country.

A 2003 graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and native of Fayette County, Whitehead’s duties at the IPRB will include serving as the primary media contact for the upstream Illinois oil industry.

The IPRB was formed in 1998 to provide public awareness/education programs and to clean up/restore abandoned oilfield sites throughout the state. Funding for IPRB programs comes from voluntary contributions of oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners in Illinois.

Larrabee pointed out that the IPRB played a big part in loaning money for the construction of the Oil Field Museum buildings.

Sam Barbee is the executive vice president of the Illinois Oil and Gas Association. IOGA is a group of oil and gas producers, landowners, royalty owners, service providers, and others in the Illinois area. They advocate for oil and gas producers in Illinois and provide networking opportunities for the industry.

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