Illinois General Assembly Takes Up Fracking Regulations

On March 14, 2013, the Illinois General Assembly will hold a hearing concerning the proposed “Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act” which would prohibit high volume horizontal fracking without proper permitting.   Governor Pat Quinn praised the bill and industry groups notably praised its proposal for balancing the two sides of the debate.

The comprehensive and lengthy bill includes, for example, includes a required permitting process, requires fracking be kept certain distances from various objects and entities (e.g., public aquifers, schools, homes), and requires specific testing water testing during the process.

The following is an overview of some of the bill’s key provisions:

  • Storage of wastewater will be in enclosed tanks
  • Public disclosures of fracking chemicals, except for trade secrets
  • Restrictions on venting
  • Comprehensive testing of frac wells both before and after testing
  • Citizens can appeal permits
  • A presumption of liability for contamination near operations after fracking comences
  • Frac wells limited to 1,500 feet of public water supplies.

If the legislation were to pass, Illinois would join the growing number of states that have been able to find a balance between addressing potential environmental concerns while supporting an ever-growing industry.

 


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