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State delivers long-awaited rules to implement fracking law

SPRINGFIELD – The state Department of Natural Resources today delivered long-awaited, revised rules to implement the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act, saying the rules are designed to ensure public participation, improve transparency, toughen penalties and protect the environment.

The revised rules were submitted to the Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules for a required second public notice period.

Based on a record level of public participation following release of the first draft last fall, the IDNR has substantially strengthened and clarified several sections of the proposed rules. Passage of the act 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 constituents.”

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, 2014.

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 (a)(12)
• 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. 245.1020

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