Drillers and environmentalists alike have been waiting for Illinois to come out with its guidelines for "fracking." The state's Department of Natural Resources finally published its draft Friday.
Hydraulic fracturing has been legal in Illinois for over a year; Governor Pat Quinn signed the law allowing it last June. Speculators began buying up properties in southern Illinois, where it's believed the land has deposits of oil and natural gas, deep under beds of shale. But without specific rules in place, they haven't been able to drill.
It may sound perfunctory, especially as some environmental groups had agreed to a compromise with frackers on the law itself, but they've battled over the rules.
Environmentalists say the Department of Natural Resource's first try was inadequate.
But businesses, who are also critical about how long the process has taken, say this second attempt goes too far.
"We think that a number of the changes go far beyond the scope of the legislation,” says the Illinois Manufacturer's Associations' Mark Denzler. “We believe that any rulemaking should simply implement the law; it shouldn't strengthen it, it shouldn't weaken it."
Still, both Denzler and environmental groups say it'll take days to get a full understanding of the new proposal, as it's 150 pages long and highly technical.