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Quinn quietly signs fracking bill

Monday, Jun 17, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller

* AP

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation giving the state the nation’s strictest regulations for high-volume oil and gas drilling.

In a news release, Quinn’s office says the governor signed the bill Monday. Quinn says the law will “unlock the potential” for thousands of jobs in southern Illinois while protecting the environment.

* Perhaps because of a small grassroots opposition force, the governor chose not to hold a public ceremony

Governor Pat Quinn today, avoiding the public spotlight, signed a new hydraulic fracturing bill into law.

Rather than hold a traditional bill signing ceremony and press conference to trumpet one his “top priorities”, Quinn signed the new bill in private and later issued a press release.

Sheesh. He could’ve traveled to southern Illinois and finally received decent media coverage.

* From the press release…

Under the new law, Illinois will become the first state in the nation in which hydraulic fracturing operators will be required to submit pre- and post-fracturing chemical disclosures to the state. Additionally, Illinois will become the only state in the nation to require pre- and post-fracturing water testing. Operators will be required to provide a baseline water test prior to the act of hydraulic fracturing and then tests six months, 18 months and 30 months after operations have concluded. Illinois will also require the storage of fluid in above-ground closed tanks, rather than traditional pits.

The law includes a mandatory 30-day public comment period, a public hearing opportunity and a 15-day follow-up public comment period on new permit applications. The state will consider all submitted written comments and testimony from public hearings when making its decision to approve or deny the application.

“This is a monumental achievement for economic development and jobs in Illinois,” said Mark Denzler, vice president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Hydraulic fracturing will create good-paying jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign source of oil.”

The legislation was supported by numerous environmental advocacy groups, including the Sierra Club Illinois, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council and Illinois Environmental Council.

The IMA kept the talks on an even keel and the environmental groups were real heroes here. They insisted on a tough law and fought off their left flanks as the more radical local startup groups screamed bloody murder. Good for them. Good for all of us. Let’s get some jobs.


  1. - Judgment Day - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 1:47 pm:

    The legislation also has some really tough provisions on ‘Presumptive Liability’ for operators. That’s an element that does not exist in most other states.

    Here’s a pretty good link to a summary of the legislation:

  2. - Team America - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    Passing the bill was just the first step in bringing fracking to Illinois. The rulemaking that IDNR must now undertake, and the arduous application/hearing process that the first group of applicants will have to undergo will pose enormous challenges. This is a shameless link to an article I co-authored on the next steps, but I humbly suggest it’s worth a read.

  3. - RonOglesby - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 1:52 pm:

    I dont generally give kudos to Quinn, but even he knows this is the right thing to do for some jobs and revenue.

  4. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    Traveling to southern Illinois? But that would require leaving Cook County!

  5. - Leave a Light on George - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    = but even he knows this is the right thing to do for some jobs and revenue.=

    Maybe so but my bet is his heart is really with those that opposed this legislation.

  6. - Lord Stanley's Cup - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    I can’t believe PQ didn’t do a public bill signing on that bill given what went into it and how many boxes he could have checked off with one press event. Puzzling, that.

  7. - Name Withheld - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:07 pm:

    I gotta tell you all - I can’t hear even discuss this topic without thinking about Battlestar Galactica (reboot) -

  8. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    Well, good for Pat. This is a decent bill. It brings jobs to a part of the state that needs them and doesn’t give everything up to the companies bringing those jobs to the state.

  9. - walkinfool - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    IDNR will need more resources to make this all work. I hope they can catch up to the demand — people are drilling and injecting right now.

  10. - dazed & confused - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    @ Team America. The legislature is 125 pages long and details many of the specific issues rather than relying on rules. This has been the practice, especially with major bills since the Blagojevich administration because they don’t trust agencies and bureaucrats. So while there is some rulemaking to be done, its not a huge undertaking.

  11. - Team America - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:32 pm:

    Dazed- I’ve spoken to IDNR and they seem to think there are a boatload of unanswered questions in the legislation that they will have to sort through in terms of the procedure.

  12. - Ghost - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:36 pm:

    Dazed the problem is the GA doesnt know enough to know what they dont know, I bet there is a ton of issues not covered.

  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:37 pm:

    I don’t know why he didn’t make it a jobs-creation signing ceremony, either. There was plenty of green-group cover.

    Domestic production was up a million barrels day last year due to fracking.

  14. - Phil Huckelberry - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:43 pm:

    Way to go with the corporate spin there, Rich.

    The reason this bill is the “toughest” is because other states simply imposed a moratorium. In New York, the legislature rejected a much stronger regulatory bill in favor of a moratorium. But that narrative doesn’t fit the corporate spin.

    The so-called environmental groups who lined up behind this are in hot water with a lot of their rank and file members. The Sierra Club in recent years took millions of dollars in from fracking interests, prompting a lot of people to walk on them. But that’s not reported very much, is it? It also doesn’t fit the corporate spin.

    Multiple downstate county board passed resolutions in support of a moratorium. So it’s not just “radical” groups. Again - that narrative doesn’t fit the corporate spin.

    Shame on all of them, and shame on you. As though they needed any additional mouthpieces.

  15. - Norseman - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    === I don’t know why he didn’t make it a jobs-creation signing ceremony, either. There was plenty of green-group cover. ===

    It’s called incompetence. Something that we are used to by now.

  16. - JoeVerdeal - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    This forum has been a place where this bill has been discussed rationally. Thank you, Rich.

    I believe that it is correct to assume that Gov. Quinn wants to avoid the bleating of the extremist groups. They are making it sound like the end of the world has arrived.

    I will believe that this round of drilling will be successful when I see success, but it is a good thing that all of those involved in this bill have made it possible to make an attempt to evaluate whatever resources we may have. HOOOORAY!!!!

  17. - soccermom - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:53 pm:

    This was an opportunity for the Governor to stand up and take credit for lots of new jobs in Southern Illinois — and for an energy source that is reducing greenhouse gas emission. I’m worried about water — we all are. But this is cleaner than coal and keeps people downstate working. It’s also represents a tremendous, nation-leading approach to this difficult issue, bringing together folks from industry and environmentalists. Great opportunity to generate some well-deserved positive press. Puzzling is right.

  18. - Cook County Commoner - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    Hopefully this is a great deal for Clark County and other Illinois’ areas with some black gold. I would die a happy man after seeing downstate develop the resources to take on Cook County.

  19. - soccermom - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 3:41 pm:

    Can i just say once more how sick I am about hearing everyone hating on “Cook County”? Last time I checked, it was in Illinois.

    I live in Cook. Before that, I lived in Champaign county. Before that, I lived in Winnebago County. Am I somehow less of an Illinois resident now than I was then? If so, can I please reduce my state income tax bite? Also, i’d like a refund of the state share of my sales tax payments.

    Enough already.

  20. - dazed & confused - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 4:05 pm:


    There are 50 states in the union and to my knowledge only four with moratoriums (NY, VT, NJ and NC). Not all of these states even have shale formations that could be fracked.

    Illinois has 125 pages of regulations compared to 5-10 pages in most states so they are definitely more comprehensive. I do SOOO love the enviromentalists who complain about oil and gas only to fly in private jets (Al Gore) or drive their Tahoes to Springfield to lobby against it!!!

  21. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 4:41 pm:


    Absolutism is a beautiful thing unless you want to actually get something done. A moratorium was never going to happen here. Madigan just advocated for it as leverage in the negotiations.

    And while there may be a few whacked out folks who are upset with Sierra, ELPC or IEC over this, they have way the heck more credibility in this state than you ever will.

  22. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 4:48 pm:

    Oh, and Soccermom, I’m surprised that you’re still surprised when they blow a great opportunity. Not like you haven’t seen it a few dozen times.

  23. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 5:32 pm:

    Well, you’re right–heading down into and signing it IN Southern Illinois would’ve been better, but, the main thing is he SIGNED it–woo hoo–lots of new jobs for an ailing region of our Home State with plenty of smart,reasonable, and reSPONSible restrictions built into it to boot, with more particularity even once the regs. are written-up….All in all: a good day for all of Illinois/ians with a new, progressive, business-wise/savvy new Law on our Books…once again, woo hoo!!

  24. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 6:28 pm:

    Large parts of Illinois experienced a drought last year and are at significant risk for future drought conditions, but we’ll pump millions of gallons of water for fracking. What about groundwater pollution? I understand there is a presumptive liability for companies for water pollution here, but was there anyone thinking about the diversion of water sources for fracking over agriculture? Does IDNR have the ability to stop a fracking operation from going forward without a water management plan?

  25. - P. Tire-Biter - Tuesday, Jun 18, 13 @ 10:37 am:

    Does anyone know how many more lawyers the IDNR will need to make fracking work in Illinois? Let’s hope they put balanced and honest people to the task, and don’t give command of the new positions to the guy that turned the Banner Marsh strip-mine permit application into a vicious and self-serving circular argument.

  26. - Illinois Baby - Tuesday, Jun 18, 13 @ 11:48 am:

    Finally Illinois is in the 21Century! Now, drill, drill so the people can create jobs and generate tax revenue as well as millionaires. Love it!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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