The following was written by Ann Alexander, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources published a draft of its proposed fracking regulations in the Illinois Register. Sadly,
looking through them brings the expression “haste makes waste” vividly
to life. The speeding train that is fracking in Illinois, which we
tried for years to put the brakes on with a moratorium, is now hurtling
through the rulemaking process, with the Department (at the behest of
industry, it appears) pulling out all the stops to get the rules in
place as soon as humanly possible. The result is not, shall we say, a
paragon of thoughtful drafting.
To DNR’s credit, within the amount
of time it allotted itself to write these regulations after the
fracking bill became law in June, it’s gotten a lot done. The draft is
at least superficially comprehensive, more than 100 pages long and
addressing in some fashion the array of technical matters covered by the
legislation. And the Department adopted a number of the suggestions we
sent them about provisions we think are critical to protect people –
detailed permit application requirements, a reasonable process for
public hearing requests, well-defined grounds for permit denial, and a
few other things of that nature.
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