SPRINGFIELD - The director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' (IDNR) Office of Oil and Gas Resource Management was moved to another position this week after he failed to explain to downstate lawmakers why rules had not been proposed to implement Illinois 2013 fracking law. The industry remains at a stand still in Illinois, awaiting the state's next legal steps.
A speech given by Mitchell Cohen at a conference this month suggests Cohen's attitude towards fracking may have contributed to the slowdown. Lawmakers obtained a copy of the PowerPoint presentation Cohen used in his speech, including anti-fracking parody songs like the ones below.
Cohen's transfer to another DNR department took place after State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) and other downstate lawmakers held a meeting with the director. Cohen offered no explanation as to why his department had not made more progress on rule-making necessary to regulate fracking in Illinois.
"We wanted to know why the rules have not been done. They were supposed to be done within a year of the governor signing the bill," Rep. Phelps said. "Every group that sat at the negotiating table agreed to this bill. It got a lot of votes, and the governor signed it, so we wanted to know why there has been no movement."
The fracking industry in North Dakota has resulted in the state having an unemployment rate of only 2.5% unemployment, while Illinois suffers with the second highest in the country.