Friday, August 29, 2014

IL Dpt of Natural Resources Issue Long-Awaited Rules on Fracking

SPRINGFIELD, Aug 29, 2014 – The Illinois Department of Natural
                      Resources (IDNR) today delivered revised rules to
                      implement the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act.
                      The revised rules were submitted to the Illinois
                      General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative
                      Rules (JCAR) for a required second public notice

                      Based on a record level of public participation
                      following release the first draft last fall, the IDNR
                      has substantially strengthened and clarified several
                      sections of the proposed rules.  Passage of the HFRA
                      and the subsequent rulemaking process generated an
                      unprecedented amount of feedback. Five public
                      hearings were held around the state, and the agency
                      received more than 31,000 comments amounting to
                      43,000 pages from members of the public, units of
                      local government, environmental organizations and
                      industry.  The annotated copy of the revised rules,
                      including comments and the agency’s responses to each
                      issue area, can be found at:

                      “As the agency charged with standing up a brand new
                      regulatory program, it was important that our staff
                      took the time needed to consider all the public
                      feedback and do the job right,” said IDNR Director
                      Marc Miller. “We believe the revised rules submitted
                      to JCAR today accurately reflect the intent of the
                      law, and take into account the concerns of our

                      Following the start of the second public notice
                      period, JCAR has 45 days to consider the proposed
                      regulations. JCAR can request an additional 45 days.
                      By delivering the revised rules in time for the next
                      scheduled JCAR meeting on Sept. 16, IDNR has insured
                      that JCAR has adequate time to complete its work.
                      Rules must be adopted within one year of first
                      notice, which for this rulemaking will be Nov. 15,

                      Key changes to the rules:

                      Public participation
                      • Strengthened public disclosure on water volumes and
                      fracking chemicals used.  245.210(a)(8)
                      • Clarified rules to protect ability for public to
                      comment during permit approval process. 245.260
                      • Clarified rules to ensure that public hearings are
                      held in the County where the proposed well site is
                      located. 245.270(b)(2)
                      • Strengthened rules regarding permit modifications
                      to ensure greater public notification and comment
                      opportunities. 245.330

                      • Improved transparency and public notification if
                      water pollution problems occur. 245.615
                      • Strengthened rules governing  chemical disclosure
                      and use of trade secrets 245.710 & 245.720
                      • Strengthened and clarified rules regarding trade
                      secret disclosure to health professionals to protect
                      public safety.  245.730
                      • Strengthened Well Site safety plans. 245.210
                      • Strengthened department oversight to identify water
                      pollution problems. 245.620
                      • Increased transparency and toughened enforcement
                      penalties for violations.       245.1120
                      • Clarified reporting requirements for annual flaring
                      reports. 245.930

                      Environmental protection
                      • Expanded rules to cover all types (non-water) of
                      fracturing technologies 245.100
                      • Required that drilling fluids, cuttings, and waste
                      be tested for radioactivity and be stored
                      appropriately 245.510
                      • Strengthened rules to protect fresh water zones
                      from hydraulic fracturing fluid contamination during
                      operations. 245.840
                      • Clarified rules to ensure that flowback materials
                      are not stored temporarily in open reserve pits for
                      more than seven days. 245.850(c)
                      • Raised threshold requirements for claims of
                      economic unreasonableness regarding flaring; required
                      the use of auto igniters, improved monitoring
                      requirements. 245.845 & 245.900
                      • Strengthened land restoration requirements.

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