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A Pennsylvania company has asked McLean County for a special use permit to drill for oil and gas, according to county officials and documents.

According to reports, Minard Run Oil Company of Bradford, Pennsylvania, said in a letter to the McLean County Department of Building and Zoning that geological studies and seismic surveys have found 274 acres near Downs are favorable for oil and gas accumulations.

Minard has a one-year permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to drill and operate an oil well. Minard would lease the property from two trusts.

The company wants to drill about 1,000 feet down in one location, said Phil Dick, director of McLean County's building and zoning department. If oil isn't found, the company would plug the hole and not pursue the site. If oil and gas are found the company would drill at about a dozen other sites on the property, Dick said.

The McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals has scheduled a public hearing on the permit Oct. 7.

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