Governor Quinn signs the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act


Governor Quinn signs the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act – promising thousands of jobs throughout Southern Illinois along with strict environmental protections

On June 17, 2013, Governor Quinn signed into law the nation’s strictest regulations for high volume oil and gas drilling.  Governor Quinn’s office issued a press release stating that the governor signed the nation’s strongest regulations on hydraulic fracturing which will set the national standard for environmental protection while unlocking potential for thousands of jobs in Southern Illinois.

Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1715 – the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act – into law on June 17, 2013. The new law went into effect immediately. According to the press release, this new law enacts the nation’s strongest environmental protections for hydraulic fracturing and has the potential to create thousands of jobs in Southern Illinois.  Passage of this legislation was one of Governor Quinn’s top priorities this year and the Quinn administration helped negotiate and draft legislation.

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“This new law will unlock the potential for thousands of jobs in Southern Illinois and ensure that our environment is protected,” Governor Quinn said.  “As I said in my budget address, hydraulic fracturing is coming to Illinois with the strongest environmental regulations in the nation.  It’s about jobs and it’s about ensuring that our natural resources are protected for future generations.  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.”

“This law is an example of what we can achieve when legislators and leaders in both chambers work together in good faith to get something done for the greater good of the people of Illinois,” Quinn added.

The legislation was sponsored by State Senator, Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign), and State Representative, John Bradley (D-Marion), Senate Bill 1715 enacts the most comprehensive set of regulations on hydraulic fracturing in the nation, and includes strong provisions to protect water quality, assure transparency, and promote public involvement.

Hydraulic fracturing is currently permitted without the necessary regulations or protections.  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 state in the nation to require pre- and post-fracturing water testing.  Operators will be required to provide a base line water test prior to the act of hydraulic fracturing and then tests at 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 includes strong public participation requirements, including a mandatory 30-day public comment, 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 many 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.  Hydraulic fracturing will create good-paying jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign source of oil,” said Mark Denzler, vice president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Manufactures’’ 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.  “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.”

The legislation was supported by numerous environmental advocacy groups, including the Sierra Club Illinois, Environmental Law And Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Illinois Environmental Council.

A complete copy of the governor’s press release can be viewed by clicking the following link:

http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/PressReleasesListShow.cfm?RecNum=11278.