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.
The Illinois Legislature adjourned its spring session having passed a new state budget and other key measures, but leaving some business undone. Here's a look at what passed and what didn't: BILLS SENT TO GOV. PAT QUINN: Budget: A roughly $35.7 billion budget for 2015 keeps funding flat for schools and most state agencies. Majority Democrats acknowledged the budget is ``incomplete'' because it postpones tough votes about whether to slash spending or find new revenue until after November's election.
Lawmakers are giving up on an attempt to override state regulators in order to jumpstart fracking in Illinois. But they still say Gov. Pat Quinn's administration is dragging its feet on a potential economic boom.
It's been a year since hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, was approved in Illinois. The law was hard-fought, but in the end, industry and environmental interest groups signed off.
Illinois took another step Friday toward allowing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The state has published draft rules on the controversial oil and gas extraction process, and it's looking for comments from the public.
Back in the spring, lawmakers touted Illinois' fracking law as the toughest in the country. It was the product of long negotiations between environmentalists and business groups.
But a big part of any law is what's left to regulation. Enter the Department of Natural Resources, which has published 150 pages of proposed rules on fracking.
Illinois environmental officials say it will be at least a year until the start of hydraulic fracturing in the state. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/1aG4YUf ) new state regulations for the practice are nearly complete.
That's according to Marc Miller, the director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. But Miller says it will take months before permits are issued. That's because the state still needs to hold public hearings and collect comments.
Across the world, the drilling process referred to as "fracking" has caused controversy. Some say it brings heavy profits with the oil and natural gas it extracts from far underground. Others say it's caused pollution, contaminated water... and even initiated earthquakes. It's an issue Illinois residents have been largely untouched by - until now, as fracking has recently begun in the southern part of the state.
Illinois' fracking regulations divided the environmental community; while those like the Illinois Environmental Council signed on as proponents of the new law, others - like these activists - remain opposed.