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Gov. Quinn signs bill to establish hydraulic fracturing regulations in Illinois


On Monday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act,  which sets standards aimed at protecting the environment when hydraulic fracturing occurs in the state.

Sponsored by State Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) and State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), the legislation enacts the "most comprehensive set of regulations on hydraulic fracturing in the nation," state officials said in a press release issued by the governor's office. The bill includes strong water-quality projection provisions, assures transparency and promotes public involvement, they said.

Passage of the regulations was one of Quinn's top legislative priorities, state officials said.

"This new law will unlock the potential for thousands of jobs in southern Illinois and ensure that our environment is protected," Quinn said. "Hydraulic fracturing is coming to Illinois with the strongest environmental regulations in the nation."

The legislation was developed with input from environmental advocates and representatives from government, labor and industry.

Under the new law, Illinois will become the first state in which hydraulic operators will be required to submit pre- and post-fracturing chemical disclosures to the state. Knowing what materials will be used in the process will enable the state to "better protect consumers and the environment," state officials said.

In addition, Illinois will become the only state to require pre- and post-fracturing water testing. Operators will be required to provide a baseline water test prior to the fracturing process and then conduct tests six months, 18 months and 30 months after operations are concluded.

The law also includes strong public participation requirements, including a mandatory 30-day public comment period, a public hearing and a 15-day follow-up public comment period. State officials will consider comments when deciding whether to issue a permit for fracturing.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/19/2013