Illinois on Friday issued proposed regulations to help oversee the fracking industry, with stricter rules for chemical disclosure. The much-awaited rules, which were published by the state Department of Natural Resources, were welcomed by impatient energy industry officials keen to start fracking southern Illinois, which is thought to contain vast reserves of natural gas.
The state formally began drawing the legislation last year, in conjunction with environmentalists and industry activists, before that collaboration broke down after the parties criticized the draft proposals. Illinois officials are more optimistic that the new regulations will address every concerns raised in the 30,000 comments it received after it published the first draft.
The 150-page report was forwarded to the administrative oversight committee that is expected to review it in the next 45 days before taking effect. However, both energy industry officials and environmentalists were analyzing the report on Friday, with some saying that the standoff over the rules isn’t yet over.
“The agency clearly paid attention to some of the public comments that were out there, but given the technical nature of things it remains to be seen if those issues are fixed,” Josh Mogerman, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Associated Press.
Drillers were especially uneasy with the stricter requirements for thorough disclosure of specific chemicals used in fracking, which they say could expose trade secrets.
The department also banned storage of wastewater in open pits for at least a week in order to prevent contamination of groundwater sources. It also specified that public hearings for hydraulic fracturing licenses must not be held more than 30 miles from the location of the proposed well site.To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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