Today, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ intended rules to implement new high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing regulation are available to the public.  IDNR’s website with the rules and information on public comment is available here. Administrative rules are needed to provide detail on how IDNR will implement SB1715, the fracking statute.

The rulemaking process is likely to be a lengthy one.  In an interview, the Director of the Department of Natural Resources Marc Miller told the State Journal Register that,  “The start of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Illinois is at least a year away…” and that “it would take months — including public hearings and website comments — before the first permits are issued.”  Read the Director’s full comments here.

The rules published today are not final and are presented to the public for consideration and comment as part of First Notice before they will be considered by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). First Notice lasts for a minimum of 45 days.  During first notice, IDNR accepts and must respond to public comments.

IDNR has scheduled the following hearings.  IEC and our member organizations intend to ask for additional hearings in more locations, including Central Illinois.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
726 S. Halsted Street, Student Center East, Room 302
Chicago, IL 60607

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Rend Lake College Theater
468 North Ken Gray Parkway
Ina, IL 62846

Comments will also be accepted online.  From a first look at the proposed regulations, there are definitely very serious concerns with these rules.  We will certainly be encouraging IDNR to take as much time as possible to accept and review public comment before filing a Second Notice to be considered by JCAR.  IDNR has indicated that no permits will be issued before regulations are in place.

Attorneys, scientists, and other experts from several of IEC’s member organizations will be analyzing these rules and providing comments to IDNR as well as guidance to the public and their members on making comments.  Public comment will be accepted by IDNR here.  The public comment site requires that you provide comments based on a specific section of the rules.  You are encouraged to attend the hearings and make comments online.  We will send out another action alert after the rules are reviewed with instructions on how to make comments online.

After the end of first notice, if IDNR decides to make changes based on public comment, the changes will be filed and available to the public when it files for Second Notice. During Second Notice, the rules are reviewed by JCAR staff and then the legislative members of JCAR.  This review lasts a maximum of 45 days.  Legislators on JCAR can take a range of actions from accepting the rules to filing a prohibition against their adoption.  When this step occurs, we will be working to make sure members of JCAR hear about any concerns that the public and environmental groups have about the proposed rules.  Look for additional updates as this progresses.

Important links:

Fracking rules

Seismicity rules

Public hearings

Online comments

Elements of the statute

Read about the JCAR process here.

Read the rules here in the Illinois Register starting on page 18081

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