Still no rules for fracking in Illinois

Jul 24, 2014


Credit David Gilky/NPR

Business and labor leaders are urging Illinois' Department of Natural Resources to finish the rules for hydraulic fracturing.  The coalition says it's left wondering if the governor's administration might be dragging the process for political reasons.

It's been over 400 days since the General Assembly passed a law to allow hydraulic fracturing in Illinois. Proponents say the technique of drilling for natural gas deep in the ground will lead to job and revenue growth.

But the Department of Natural Resources has yet to finalize the rules that need to be in place before fracking can begin.  Leaving drillers to wait. 

Mark Denzler, with the Illinois Manufacturer's Association, says that in conversations with Governor Pat Quinn's administration, he got the sense it set a deadline for the rules for mid-November, after the election, on purpose.

"They've said there's more votes in the Chicago suburban area than there are downstate and so it's an electoral ballgame."

The thought being that it could be to Quinn's political advantage to keep a controversial practice like fracking out of headlines, at least more so than creating job in downstate Illinois, where there are fewer voters. 

A spokesman from the DNR says there's no political motivation, and that the agency is taking the time it needs to consider public comment.