Southern Illinois landowners and members of an environmental group have filed an appeal after a Madison County judge denied their request last month for a preliminary injunction to block the state's fracking rules from being implemented.
Landowners and the group Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment, who filed a lawsuit arguing the state's fracking rulemaking "violated mandatory statutory and administrative rulemaking procedures and is therefore invalid," announced the appeal Tuesday. The plaintiffs want a preliminary injunction that "directs the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to renew the rulemaking process" for the state's fracking regulatory act.
Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder denied that request, saying the plaintiffs did not demonstrate that implementation of the rules would result in "immediate" harm.
"We are disappointed by the judge's ruling," an attorney for the plaintiffs Vito Mastrangelo said in a statement. "We believe that we made a strong case that IDNR did not follow the rulemaking law and that the rules are therefore invalid. Judge Crowder did not rule to the contrary. Proceedings for the complaint will continue. But without an injunction in place, IDNR may begin the permitting process based on invalid rules, which is deeply troubling. IDNR's failure to follow the statute on rulemaking does not bode well for its ability or willingness to comply with the statute or rules for high volume horizontal fracking."
Fracking is the practice of releasing Earth's natural gas by horizontally drilling with a high-pressure mixture of water, sand or gravel, and chemicals to create cracks in deep layers of shale rock.
The state's permit application process for fracking opened late last month.