An Illinois House committee has approved a proposal that seeks to pave way for fracking in the state, despite opposition from environmental groups.
The Executive Committee approved the plan, which is sponsored by Rep. John Bradley, 7-4 on Monday. The measure seeks to remove the authority given to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to set rules for hydraulic fracturing and gives it to the Legislature. The bill, which is titled SB649, will now head to the House floor, reported BND.com.
Environmentalists expressed disgust at the move, saying the proposal grabs the regulation-setting authority from professionals and ignores public opinion. Anti-fracking protesters carried placards screaming “Don’t silence 35,000 voices on fracking.”
Bradley’s proposal also seeks to ban fracking in northern counties of the state, though it is highly unlikely that there is any likelihood that oil firms are interested in those areas.
Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is a method that involves pumping a mixture of water, chemicals and sand deep into underground shale rocks at high pressure in order to release trapped oil and natural gas. This method is used together with horizontal drilling to access hard-to-reach oil and natural gas deposits.
The House committee’s decision is in stark contrast to the stance advocated by Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration, which backs plans by the state Department of Natural Resources to create laws that control hydraulic fracturing. Gov. Quinn argues this gives experts, the public and advocates a chance to contribute in the process.
Illinois lawmakers approved fracking in May 2013, prompting the DNR to roll out a lengthy public hearing period. This has triggered complaints from energy firms, which say the long process is a disincentive for them to invest in the state. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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