Friday, March 08, 2013

Illinois oil and gas industry, environmentalists agree on rules for fracking in the state

Environmentalists and the oil industry have come to an agreement on oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing methods in President Obama's home state. "The Illinois model might also offer a template to other states seeking to carve out a middle ground between energy companies that would like free rein and environmental groups that want to ban the practice entirely," Tammy Webber reports for The Associated Press.

Attempts at a statewide fracking moratorium failed last year, and legislators were ready to allow it in Southern Illinois, the state's poorest region, so the Natural Resources Defense Council "wanted to ensure there were significant safeguards, including making drillers liable for water pollution, requiring them to disclose the chemicals used and enabling residents to sue for damages," Webber writes.

Some other environmental groups still oppose the deal because they don't want any fracking at all, and the compromise is "very precarious,"  Mark Denzler, vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, told Webber. It still needs legislative approval.

Webber writes, "Although Illinois' proposed regulations might not work for every state, the unusual model of cooperation might, depending on the relationship between industry and environmentalists, Denzler said." (Read more)

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