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Illinois Department of Natural Resources


Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Aug 23, 2013

IL Advances Offshore Wind Energy Research, But Lake Turbines Still 'Light-Years' Away, Experts Say

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Lake Michigan Wind Energy Act earlier this month, but don’t expect wind farms to pop up in the lake anytime soon.

The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), authorizes the state to conduct further research on which parts of Lake Michigan are suitable for offshore wind energy development before any leases or permits are issued for such projects.

The recent measure piggybacks on the recommendations cited in an Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) report released last year that first explored the issue after the state set up the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Council in 2011.

Under the new measure, IDNR is now tasked with developing an offshore wind “siting matrix” to identify preferred or prohibited development areas in the lake based on existing wildlife, infrastructure, transportation and other environmental factors. IDNR is expected to use its own funds for the study, which is projected to take at least two years.

Within this two-year research window, devices will be installed on the lake to track wind currents, peak hours and other factors, explained Gabel’s legislative assistant Matt Trewartha.

But that’s just the beginning, acording to experts.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu May 23, 2013

Environmental Activists Demand A Fracking Moratorium, Stage Sit-In At Quinn's Office (UPDATED)

Environmental activists are ramping up advocacy efforts against hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking”. Meanwhile, the Illinois House Executive Committee passed a regulatory compromise bill Tuesday and the full chamber is expected to take up the legislation any day now.

The oil and gas drilling technology, according to the bill’s opponents, is unsafe and damages the environment. But as the bill makes its way through the Illinois General Assembly, drilling companies have already leased land in Southern Illinois — reportedly about half a million acres around the New Albany Shale rock formation, according to the Star-Telegram.

“Fracking is not safe, it destroys communities; it endangers our water supply; it is not safe for the workers; and it is not a bridge fuel,” said Melody Lamar, a member of Illinois People’s Action.  “I’m so sickened by what I’ve seen from our legislators.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Mar 13, 2013

Anti-Fracking Protesters March On Statehouse, Madigan Supports Moratorium

More than 100 protesters descended on the Illinois Statehouse in Springfield yesterday to rally against a regulatory bill and call for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Illinois.

Opponents to hydraulic fracturing say it has a negative environmental impact, including extreme water and air pollution. Demonstrators yesterday spoke with legislators and passed petitions that urged lawmakers to support a two-year moratorium on fracking in Illinois.

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Mar 5, 2013

Aversion To Fracking Continues In Illinois Despite Compromise Bill

As the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act was moved to committee yesterday, a coalition of 15 organizations sent a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly, asking for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, instead of regulations on the oil and gas drilling technology.

Quick Hit
Mon Feb 25, 2013

Op-Ed: Protecting Illinois From Fracking

The following was written by Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter.

The prospect of the gas industry coming Illinois to extract gas from beneath our state using high-volume hydraulic fracturing has caused a great deal of controversy and concern, especially in parts of Illinois where leasing for drilling rights has been underway for well over a year. Horror stories from other states about open pits of toxic wastewater, secret brews of toxins injected into the earth, air emissions sickening neighbors, and contaminated drinking water are just a few of the impacts seen elsewhere. 

Quick Hit
by Michael Sandler
Wed Aug 1, 2012

Don’t Frack With Us: SAFE Group Rallies Against Hydraulic Fracturing In Illinois

On Monday afternoon, a group of protestors outside the James R. Thompson Center called for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in southern Illinois.

At the rally, Southern Illinoisians Against Fracturing our Environment (SAFE) protested the practice of hydraulic fracturing. Known as fracking for short, the oil and gas drilling technique injects a mix of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground to create cracks in deep rock layers. The cracks release natural gas. (Read PI’s previous reporting on fracking here.)

Proponents of fracking say it will supply America with its own source of natural gas, but SAFE contends the process contaminates drinking water and pollutes farmland. The group doesn’t believe enough information has been gathered on the effect fracking has on the environment, and its members met with one of Gov. Pat Quinn’s representatives before the rally.