Fracking approaches final hurdle in Illinois

It had been 437 days since the wait began for Illinois' rules governing the high-impact form of oil and gas drilling, also known as hydraulic fracturing.

On Friday, they were finally dropped off at the state committee charged with their approval.

And then another clock began ticking: 77 days for the Illinois legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to approve the rules. If it fails to approve them, the process starts all over again.

For now, highlights from the package include:

  • Strengthened public disclosure rules for water volumes and fracking chemicals.
  • Public hearings for fracking permits take place in the county where the drilling would occur.
  • Public information in cases of water pollution.
  • Stronger penalties for violations.
  • Expanded rules covering fracking that doesn't use water.
  • A requirement that toxic flow-back materials are not stored in open pits for more than seven days.

Julie Wernau has the rest of the story in the Chicago Tribune.