The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is seeking public feedback on the state's first-ever regulations for high-volume oil and gas drilling. Draft regulations for hydraulic fracturing have been published, which begins a public comment period that will last until Jan. 3. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," uses high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack underground rock formations and release oil and natural gas. Regulations signed into law by the governor were hailed as among the toughest in the nation. Dawn Dannenbring of the advocacy group Illinois People's Action disagrees.
"The law itself states that hydraulic fracturing shall not be conducted in such a way that poses significant risk to health, safety, acquatic life etc. But then it goes on and allows a number of practices that have been shown in other states to pose significant risk."
The DNR must adopt rules to reflect the law. The DNR plans to hold two public hearings on the regulations, one in Chicago on Nov. 26 and one in the southern Illinois town of Ina on Dec. 3. People may also submit written comments.
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