Individuals and businesses can now register online for permits to conduct “fracking” operations in Illinois.
High-volume hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a process for extracting natural gas that uses horizontal drilling to inject a highly-pressurized combination of water, chemicals and a drilling agent such as sand into deep shale rock layers that were previously inaccessible.
In Illinois, it is regulated by the state’s Department of Natural Resources.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 1715, the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act, into law June 17, 2013. The law was effective immediately.
The bill sponsor, State Sen. Michael Frerichs of Champaign, said the measure could create up to 47,000 jobs in Illinois and that the law includes the toughest fracking rules in the nation.
Majority Caucus Whip State Senator Mattie Hunter, of Chicago, voiced opposition to the act, saying the legislature did not take enough time to carefully consider the potential consequences of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in Illinois. Opponents wanted a two-year moratorium to allow more time to study the potential environmental and health impact of fracking.
A statement from Gov. Quinn said the new law made Illinois the first state to require pre- and post-fracturing chemical disclosures and water testing from fracking operators.
Applications can be made anywhere in Illinois, although they appear to be concentrated in the southeastern part of the state.
A legislative committee still must approve rules before the DNR will accept formal applications, and that process was expected to take several months.