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Lawmakers Outline Proposed Fracking Regulations
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is a way to extract oil or natural gas from shale and other rock formations. The industry is eying southern Illinois. That's why a group of bipartisan lawmakers is introducing regulations for the process.
Fracking enables the release of gas or oil from shale by creating cracks in the rock formation.
Operators form the cracks by pumping in high-pressure mixtures of water, sand and chemicals.
Members of the General Assembly outlined a proposed law for fracking horizontal wells Thursday.
It would require a permit from the DNR, setback requirements from water sources and certain buildings, 30 days' public notice, and disclosure of all chemicals used in the process.
"This bill will provide us in Illinois with the strongest protections for the public water supply, the air, for the public health and safety for any state in the nation," Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Democrat from Chicago, said.
"We would prefer this risky practice be studied further before it's implemented," Ann Alexander, senior attorney with the Midwest program for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said.
The rules would also require operators to control air pollution and test water sources near the well.
Business organizations, unions and the Attorney General helped the negotiate the bill.
A Democratic senator has filed a bill to put a two-year moratorium on fracking in Illinois.