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Updated Illinois Fracking Rules: While Improved, They Don’t Make Fracking Safe

CHICAGO (August 29, 2014) – In response to a historic volume of public comments, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources released updates to their highly controversial draft regulations governing fracking in the state today. In their initial read through of the new rules, NRDC experts note a number of critical changes requested by the environmental community have been made, but a deeper analysis of the highly-technical rules will be necessary to better assess if a bevy of concerns have been adequately addressed. Today’s iteration still requires approval from the state’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

Following are comments from NRDC Midwest Director Henry Henderson:

“While we would love to give a definitive thumbs up or down today; it is just not possible with such short review time, as these are highly technical rules that require considerable analysis. On first read, it appears that a number of the critical changes we requested have been made. However, our legal and technical staff will be spending the Labor Day weekend digging into the rules more deeply.

“While we have been fighting hard to get protections in place to help protect citizens in this state, we would reiterate that these rules would not make fracking ‘safe.’ IDNR seems to have listened to public concern and attempted to improve the draft rules. However, Illinois remains far from prepared to protect against the risks of fracking, because more research is needed concerning its public health impacts and how best to mitigate them.”

More information:

Check NRDC senior attorney Ann Alexander’s Switchboard blog posts for a primer on the initial draft rules’ failings and link to NRDC’s 30-page public comments on the rules.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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