Lawmakers advance bill to start hydraulic fracturing process sooner

May 27, 2014

Legislation intended to hasten the arrival of hydraulic fracturing in Illinois is advancing in the General Assembly. Illinois authorized the oil and gas extraction technique, commonly known as "fracking," last year.

The sponsor of that law, Democratic Representative John Bradley from Marion, says he's frustrated with the pace at which the Department of Natural Resources is writing fracking regulations. He's pushing legislation that would impose those rules by law, cutting DNR out of the process.

But Allen Grosboll, with the Environmental Law & Policy Center, says this is a reversal of what was once touted as a historic agreement between industry and environmentalists.

"I believe if the Bradley bill moved forward, it will undermine that argument, because it does weaken environmental protections, and it also weakens public health protections," says Grosboll.

DNR is said to be going through tens of thousands of public comments on the rules. Environmentalists say Bradley's legislation would effectively silence those voices.