Thom Cmar, Attorney, Chicago
The Illinois General Assembly just wrapped up a contentious session that left some major bills addressing the state’s economic woes unfinished. But while most eyes were on chippy debates over pension reform, a major environmental bill with massive economic implications for the southern half of the state had an amazing 11th hour run, before stalling as time ran out. The issue was fracking. And I had a front row seat to the madness.
To be clear, there is no fracking in Illinois yet, though a rush is on to buy up leases and sink test wells in the New Albany shale. Henry Henderson of NRDC and Rev. Claire Butterfield from Faith in Place nicely set the scene months ago with an Op-Ed outlining the need for a strong bill to establish safeguards to protect Illinoisans’ health, drinking water and fundamental rights to protect their communities from some of the threats associated with the controversial oil and gas extraction technique.
Currently, Illinois has no rules governing horizontal drilling and fracking. Yesterday, on the last day of the session, there was an effort to address the issue. It was a crazy day.
After negotiations failed to produce a strong ...
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