Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed the state’s Senate Bill 1715 – the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act – into law. The law, which takes effect immediately, enacts the nation’s strongest environmental protections for hydraulic fracturing and includes strong provisions to protect water quality, assure transparency and promote public involvement.
“This new law will unlock the potential for thousands of jobs in southern Illinois and ensure that our environment is protected,” said Governor Quinn. “I applaud the many environmental advocates and representatives from government, labor and industry who worked with us to make Illinois a national model for transparency, environmental safety and economic development.”
The law is the product of extensive negotiations between the Governor’s Office, industry groups, environmental groups, labor unions, legislators, the Attorney General’s Office, and state agencies including the Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which will manage implementation of the law. The legislation was supported by numerous environmental advocacy groups, including the Sierra Club Illinois, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Illinois Environmental Council.
Under the new law, Illinois will become the first state in the nation in which hydraulic fracturing operators will be required to submit pre- and post-fracturing chemical disclosures to the state. Knowing exactly what materials are being used will allow the state to better protect consumers and the environment. Additionally, Illinois will become the only US state to require pre- and post-fracturing water testing. Operators will be required to provide a baseline water test prior to the act of hydraulic fracturing and then tests six months, 18 months and 30 months after operations have concluded. Illinois will also require the storage of fluid in above-ground closed tanks, rather than traditional pits.
The law also includes strong public-participation requirements, including a mandatory 30-day public comment period, a public hearing opportunity and a 15-day follow-up public comment period. The state will consider all submitted written comments and testimony from public hearings when making its decision to approve or deny the permit application.
These restrictions, among others, provide the most comprehensive and strongest environmental protections and regulations on high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing in the country, while providing industry with the certainty to begin investing billions of dollars in the state.
"This is a monumental achievement for economic development and jobs in Illinois,” said Mark Denzler, vice president and COO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association and a co-founder of the GROW-IL Coalition, a group consisting of three dozen business organizations, labor unions, individual companies and agricultural interests. “Hydraulic fracturing will create good-paying jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of oil. We applaud Governor Quinn and members of the General Assembly for developing a strong regulatory framework that will allow industry to flourish while protecting the environment."