Today, nearly a year after filing its first draft, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) filed revised rules implementing the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (225 ILCS 732) with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). IDNR reports that the revised rules were generated after considering “more than 31,000 comments amounting to 43,000 pages” submitted through a variety of channels. According IDNR’s Response to Public Comments, “IDNR saw unprecedented public involvement in this rulemaking process: the comments received were more than IDNR has received in all its other rulemakings combined, ever.”
According to IDNR’s press release regarding the revised rules, key changes to the rules include the following:
- Clarified rules to ensure that public hearings are held in the County where the proposed well site is located.
- Improved transparency and public notification if water pollution problems occur.
- Strengthened rules governing chemical disclosure and use of trade secrets.
- Increased transparency and toughened enforcement penalties for violations.
- Expanded rules to cover all types (non-water) of fracturing technologies.
- Strengthened rules to protect fresh water zones from hydraulic fracturing fluid contamination during operations.
- Strengthened land restoration requirements.
JCAR has 45 days to consider these proposed regulations, though it can request an additional 45 days. Rules must ultimately be adopted within one year of first notice, which in this case means November 15, 2014. The next JCAR meeting is scheduled for September 16.
The revised rules, IDNR’s Response to Public Comments, and other related documents and information can be found on IDNR’s website here.