The Holiday Gift Auction is Live! Click here and bid now on great local gifts!
State

Illinois lawmakers drop fracking bill, urge action

SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers supporting hydraulic fracturing Wednesday abandoned proposed legislation to speed use of the practice in Illinois, and said they would instead urge a state agency to move more quickly writing rules to regulate it.

The Legislature last May authorized the process commonly known as fracking, which uses a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals to crack and hold open thick rock formations, releasing trapped oil and gas. But the Department of Natural Resources has spent months holding hearings and gathering more than 30,000 comments on the best way to regulate the drilling method. The agency has until November to publish rules for fracking.

Lawmakers from southern Illinois, which has a huge shale deposit that could be explored using the technology, accused the agency of dragging its feet. They said the delay is hurting the economy of poorer Illinois counties, and the lawmakers called on Gov. Pat Quinn to intervene. Quinn oversees the Department of Natural Resources.

“We’re sitting there waiting. It’s time we put some people back to work down in our area,” state Rep. John Cavaletto of Salem said.

The Department of Natural Resources did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press Wednesday

Frustrated with the slow movement on rules for fracking, Marion Democratic Rep. John Bradley’s last week proposed legislation to skip the state rulemaking process.

Environmental groups said the proposal would strip power to regulate fracking from the state agency, leaving Illinois vulnerable to water pollution and ecological damage.

The bill also would have established a moratorium on fracking in northern Illinois counties, which was a problem for some lawmakers from northern areas of the state, according to Rep. David Reis, Republican of Willow Hill.

The lawmakers abandoned the effort to pass a new law in the waning days of state legislative session. But in a statement Wednesday, Bradley called for an “immediate resolution” to the delays in implementing the law passed last year.

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.