State Representative David Reis is denouncing the revised draft of fracking rules from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He says the agency tried to rewrite the original bill based on feedback and concerns from environmental groups.
“We are going to fight these rules. If they come to pass, there just won’t be any drilling. Companies told us, they need 30-40 permits in the process to make an investment…to move equipment here. They need that many permits in the pipeline to stay busy. When you look at these new rules, it’s going to be hard to have two or three permits going at any one time.”
Reis outlined approximately 24 changes to the original legislation, including increased chemical disclosure.
“They changed what bodies of water are contained in being protected. A local road issue was put in. The burden is now on the applicant to ensure that first responders have adequate training/ equipment to respond to emergencies. There are additional public hearings with any changes along with another $13,000 fee.”
Under the revised rules, the agency could make changes internally during the permitting process. Another requirement would force companies to consider the incremental and cumulative effect of past, present, and future fracking operations.
“It’s almost criminal what this administration is doing. The industry accepted some things they haven’t in other states. They felt they could barely come into Illinois and make the investment under that set of rules. To pile on more regulations and paperwork…it’s a slap in the face to our landowners, royalty owners, and workers.”
Last Friday, the revised rules were submitted to the Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) for a required second public notice period. Reis plans to reach out to those lawmakers with written objections. The committee is comprised of three members from each caucus. It takes 8 votes of 12 to kill a set of rules.
“So we have our work cut out for us. We want to get a set of rules that reflects the legislation that was hard fought. I think most of the JCAR members will be receptive to that.”
The panel has three meetings between now and November 15, the deadline established when IDNR submitted the first draft of rules one year ago.