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Fracking regs to be released Friday

Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014

* Tribune

Long-anticipated rules that would govern a new fracking industry in Illinois, are expected to become public Friday.

Those rules could be approved as early as next month, opening the door to oil and gas drillers to apply for permits to begin drilling the state’s shale rock in search of oil reserves. Lawmakers are hoping that an oil boom in the southern part of the state will fatten state coffers with oil revenue and bring jobs to a struggling downstate economy.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has been sifting through more than 35,000 comments that were launched at its first draft of the rules, which were based on legislation passed more than a year ago. It faces a November deadline to structure the law.

State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, co-chairman of the Illinois Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, said IDNR has said it expects to drop the rules off with the committee Friday. The obscure committee’s approval is the final step in a multi-year effort to regulate horizontal hydraulic fracturing in Illinois, defined as 80,000 gallons of fluid or more injected into underground rock formations to extract oil and gas.

* Attorney Lawrence Falbe thinks there could be a large number of anti-fracking protesters at September’s JCAR meeting, and told me this…

While this puts fracking back in the news, which I think many people think Quinn has been trying to avoid by having IDNR slow-walk the regulations, the fact is that even if JCAR approves the regs at its September meeting, there is still a long way to go before any drilling actually occurs, since very detailed information must be included in the permit applications and will take time to compile, and it’s very likely objectors will force public hearings on at least the first batch of permits.

There will probably be a lot of attention on JCAR and its members, and how they approach this, but it’s pretty much out of Quinn’s hands at this point, so it will be interesting to see if he still gets heat from the enviros.

* And this is from a memo penned by Falbe and a colleague for clients

The end result of this is that final fracking regulations reasonably should be expected to be approved and in place by mid-October. That means the process of accepting permit applications and issuing permits can then begin. However, as both the statute and the regulations provide, any company wishing to submit a permit application must register 30 days before submitting the permit request. Moreover, those planning to apply for a permit should also anticipate having to defend objections to the permit in a public hearing, which can be demanded by objectors to such a permit after meeting some fairly minimal standards to show potential harm, should the permit be issued.

In summary, the regulation of fracking in Illinois has been a long and convoluted process, but there is now light at the end of the tunnel. Significant hurdles will still need to be overcome by those who seek permits, as the fracking objectors are poised and ready to repeat their onslaught against the first group of permit seekers. Carefully crafting a robust permit application, supported by sound science and expert testimony, and preparing a persuasive public hearing presentation that will withstand and refute the expected objections, will be the next challenge faced by permit seekers in Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Left Leaner - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 12:21 pm:

    Um…Since when is JCAR considered an “obscure” committee?

  2. - Ghost - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    North dakota has a billion dollar surplus on something like a 10 billions dollar state budget from fracking. The starting salaries at part time jobs have jumped to 15-20 because of the demand for workers.

    And Illinois cant get its frackin act together to cash in. Here is the money to pay off what was borrowed from the pensions, just get fracking going and use it to put back the employer protion of the contributions. No need to change any exisitng funding or redirect other money.

  3. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    ==Since when is JCAR considered an “obscure” committee?==

    That’s what I want to know. It’s been around for a few decades now. Not a big secret. Pretty much every law passed is going to result in some agency sending rules to implement the law through JCAR. Those arguing that JCAR is some secret, back door process are either being dishonest or don’t have a clue about the legislative process.

  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    ===Since when is JCAR considered an “obscure” committee?===

    Whenever the reporter doesn’t know about it before writing about it.

  5. - That Guy - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    Low information protestors?

  6. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    I can’t wait for the anti-fracking protestors to show up! I think they drive a 1964 Plymouth Valiant.

  7. - Rep. Greg Harris - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    Personally, I prefer “obscure but power Joint Committee on Administrative Rules” better cuz it sounds more awesome.

  8. - a drop in - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    VM, doesn’t that car require leaded gasoline?

  9. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    @11:26 was my laugh for the day.

  10. - Streator Curmudgeon - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    How far will this fracking action be from the New Madrid fault?

  11. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 5:08 pm:

    Golly, the 64 Valiant. I love that car. Unfortunately, that was the year the push button transmission was discontinued, I believe. The body style had changed significantly as well.

    I owned a ‘62 Valiant. 170ci slant six - auto trans/push button. I got 22 mpg on that car on the highway. Brings back the memories.

    Let’s get rolling, here, folks. Get fracking or be a loser. There’s billions of dollars in tax receipts lying there under southern Illinois. Good folk living nearby want to work to provide for their families. The technology is proven and safe. Let. Us. Move!

  12. - PolPal56 - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 5:45 pm:

    Streator, “the action” will be much closer to - actually even in - the Wabash Valley seismic system in SE IL. The record 5.4 1968 Illinois earthquake was epicentered in the system in Hamilton county.

    I grew up two counties away and was in our basement when it occurred. A vivid memory.

    The pattern of increase in seismic activity in areas that have been fracked - such as in Oklahoma - combined with SE IL’s seismic system concerns me. So does the lack of good jobs in that area of IL. So do energy issues.

  13. - .IEC Gal - Wednesday, Aug 27, 14 @ 7:56 pm:

    God help idnr legal…I hopr they get some rest before the s*itstorm hits next week…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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