The Illinois Legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) decided on Tuesday to not vote on proposed regulations involving hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The legislative panel will hold its next meeting to consider the fracking rules on November 6, reports the Associated Press.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) submitted its revised rules related to the state's year-old Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act to JCAR on August 29. The state is up against a November 15 deadline to finalize the fracking rules.
Neither industry nor environmental groups are satisfied with the state's revised fracking rules and both have requested that various changes be made.
GROW-IL, a pro-fracking coalition of labor, business and industry organizations, said in a statement that it "appreciates and understands JCAR's decision to delay the hydraulic fracturing rulemaking process" until November.
"Lawmakers are wisely utilizing this review process and prudently asking the IDNR to carefully draft rules which resemble the negotiated legislation that was signed into law," said GROW-IL's co-chair Mark Denzler with the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. "What's at stake is the potential to jumpstart our state's economic recovery and create tens of thousands of new jobs. Let's be sure we get this right."
Fair Economy Illinois, meanwhile, believes IDNR's second draft of the administrative fracking rules fails to go far enough. The group issued the following statement Tuesday detailing its position on the proposed fracking regulations:
Fair Economy Illinois believes that the revised IDNR rules cannot and will not protect Illinoisans from the dangers of fracking. Positive changes were won in the rules’ second draft thanks to the hard work of Fair Economy Illinois members and coalition partners, submitting over 36,000 public comments and packing hundreds of Illinois residents into hearings on the first draft of the rules. This work resulted in a de facto ban on fracking in Illinois for the past year. Despite this work and the positive gains, the second draft of the rules ultimately remains woefully inadequate for protecting Illinoisans from the dangers of fracking; therefore we do not support its passage.
FEI believes that fracking is inherently dangerous and cannot be made safe, even with regulations. We believe it is the job of government to protect the interests of people and the planet over corporate profits. Efforts to regulate the industry in other states have fallen short and the porous boundaries between corporate interests and the government in Illinois suggest the same outcome for Illinois. Ultimately a ban on fracking will be necessary to keep Illinois residents safe from the dangers inherent to the practice, and we must transition instead to renewable resources like wind and solar power – industries that will create truly sustainable jobs in the state and will not contribute to the overwhelming dangers of climate change.
Read more about the revised fracking rules under consideration by JCAR here.