On June, 17, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation to regulate horizontal hydraulic fracturing (aka "fracking") in Illinois. The new legislation, which is the result of extensive negotiations between industry groups, environmental groups, state regulatory entities, and Illinois labor groups, has been characterized by some as providing the strongest protections against water pollution in the nation and by others as being too lenient. Key provisions of the new legislation include:
- Requirements that wastewater be stored in closed-loop tanks rather than in open surface impoundments;
- Well and surface water must be tested prior to commencement of fracking operations and on a periodic basis thereafter;
- Stringent well construction standards;
- Disclosure of chemicals contained in the fracking operations;
- Water management plan that describes the source, location, and volume of water that will be required for the fracking activities;
- A rebuttable presumption of liability for contaminated groundwater located in the vicinity of a well site;
- Both a public notice, comment and hearing process as well as citizen suit enforcement provisions; and
- Authorization of civil actions for personal injury and property damage claims (including recovery of attorney and expert witness fees).
To see the full text of the new legislation, please click here.