SPRINGFIELD - With support of the Illinois House Democrats, State Rep. John Bradley's effort to pass fracking industry regulations passed the House Executive Committee Monday afternoon.
Bradley, who worked with a coalition last year to pass legislation opening Illinois to fracking, told the committee "We just can't get the governor to get the regulations done," after a year of waiting. The legislation includes a moratorium on fracking in northeast Illinois - specifically the Chicago area.
Fracking would begin within the year in southern Illinois, next year central, and would eventually be open to all areas of the state, except the Chicago area, where hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas will remain banned.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources - tasked with preparing rules for the Joint Committee of Administration and Regulation to pass - has dragged out the process, and one lead IDNR staffer was found ridiculing the fracking industry in a workshop he gave earlier this year.
Green groups attended the hearing Monday, protesting the rules and pointing to thousands of Illinoisans that signed a petition protesting the fracking rules, which they call "the Dirty 30."
Steven Nichols, who lives one mile away from where fracking is to begin told the committee, "You must stop this, 36,000 people signed a petition against this because the rules were so lacking. Now you're going to subvert the rule-making process?"
People's Lobby, RISE and other community activist groups expressed their disappointment with the Democrats that supported Bradley's proposal.
Republicans voted no because the Illinois Manufacturers Association said the Chicago area ban would set a bad precedent for the industry.
The bill is expected to be heard in before the end of session in the Illinois House, then it will need to go back to the Senate for consensus.
However, in an effort to run out the clock and stall the bill's progress, Monday afternoon State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) filed twenty queries in the form of fiscal and agency impact notes: