Late today amendments were submitted in the Illinois General Assembly that would rewrite the state’s Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act. Members of the Illinois Environmental Council are beginning to evaluate the proposed legislation and have found provisions that gut public protections in the Act. The bill circumvents the Illinois Department of Natural Resources deliberative process to write state rules implementing the Act’s safeguards and cuts out the public’s voice in crafting these rules. It also includes a moratorium on fracking in northern counties of the state — most of which contain limited oil or gas deposits — while leaving the rest of the state exposed to threats from fracking.
The following is a statement on from the Illinois Environmental Council, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Sierra Club and Faith in Place:
“The environmental community rejects this late-session end run that eliminates the public from discussions on fracking in Illinois. The established rule-making process has been hijacked, eliminating the public’s voice and scuttling the technical expertise that has gone into that rulemaking.”
The state’s coalition of environmental, conservation and community groups that have been working on this issue will have a more thorough analysis of this 11th hour bill soon.