On Tuesday, the Illinois legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) did not vote on proposed regulations for horizontal hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in Illinois, making the next opportunity for a vote Nov. 6.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) had collected more than 30,000 comments from the public before proposing a set of rules to JCAR several months ago. The 12-person committee declined to vote on those rules in September.
On Tuesday, the IDNR director insisted the agency would not issue permits to oil and gas drilling companies until either state legislators approved rules for fracking permits or unless a judge orders IDNR to issue permits.
Some of the concerned parties are assuming that if the rules are not approved by Nov. 15, the process of developing them would start over again. Others are wondering if oil and gas companies could be stopped if they tried to proceed without a permit.
Environmental groups have opposed fracking for a variety of concerns, including groundwater pollution. A spokesperson for the Illinois Oil and Gas Association says oil and gas companies, as well as landowners in Southern Illinois are frustrated because the process is taking longer than anticipated.
In 2013, a law was passed in Illinois to regulate the fracking industry. But before fracking companies can request permits, the IDNR’s rules/regulations must be approved by JCAR.