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State of Illinois

Update: Fracking Rules Released

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Illinois' Department of Natural Resources has come out with a set of highly-anticipated rules, that could finally lead to hydraulic fracturing in the state. As law allowing the practice passed more than a year ago, but there's been a lingering battle over the specifics.

Groups with a vested interest in fracking -- namely drillers looking to get in on the business and environmentalists who have disdain for it -- say they're still evaluating the new proposal.  After all, it's super technical stuff.

But initial reactions are predictably mixed. Industry says the rules overreach, and preferred the first draft.

Environmentalists say it's an improvement on DNR's first try, but not enough to make fracking safe.

DNR Director Marc Miller the agency took 30,000 comments -- from both sides -- into account in drafting the plan.

"We can provide a strong environmental protection and a strong regulatory program while also providing jobs."

Now, it's up to a bipartisan legislative commission to give the final OK on the rules.

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting a high volume of water and chemicals into shale rock to get to oil and natural gas underneath; it's believed there are reserves of both in southern Illinois.

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is expected to release proposed rules for high-volume oil and gas drilling to a legislative panel.

Department officials say that rules to implement the state's year-old hydraulic fracturing law will be submitted to the Illinois Legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules Friday.        

The agency has come under increasing criticism from ``fracking'' supporters who had hoped that drilling could begin this summer. But a draft of the proposed rules released last year proved controversial, and was heavily criticized by environmentalists. The Department of Natural Resources has spent recent months sorting through more than 30,000 comments.        

The panel has 45 days to approve the suggested rules, reject or change them. The department faces a November 15 deadline for the rules to be established.
 

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