(AP) An Illinois appeals court has upheld the state’s rules for the high-volume oil and gas drilling technique known as fracking. The appellate court sided with a Madison County judge who rejected an environmental group’s legal challenge. The 5th District Appellate Court on Friday issued an opinion agreeing with a November ruling in favor of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ rules on hydraulic fracturing. Seven landowners and the group Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment had sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the rules from being implemented. Fracking generally uses a mixture of water, chemicals and sand to crack rock formations deep underground and release trapped oil and gas. Opponents fear it can cause air and water pollution and health problems, but industry officials contend the method is safe.