Governor Pat Quinn has signed into law what’s touted as the nation’s toughest regulations on “fracking.”
High-volume hydraulic fracturing is a controversial process used to reach oil and natural gas deep underground. The director of the Illinois Environmental Council, Jen Walling, says she wishes the state would ban the practice. But she says given that fracking’s already happening in Illinois, her group and other major environmental organizations agreed to the new law. Walling says it sets stringent, comprehensive standards drillers must follow.
“We don’t allow open pits storage of waste water afterward. This has been a huge problem in other states,” she says. “Our law requires that all waste water be kept in closed loop tanks. That’s a really big deal.”
It’s expected to be a while before fracking really gets underway, though. The state has to draft rules, hire inspectors and issue permits. Business groups say as many as 50-thousand jobs could be created … mostly in economically hard-hit southern Illinois. They also say Illinois should reap millions of dollars in taxes and fees.