Quinn confident in fracking rule-making process

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm •  Published: May 25, 2014
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CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn's administration has affirmed its support for the state Department of Natural Resources' efforts to craft rules governing hydraulic fracturing, saying the process ensures that the public, advocates and experts all have the chance to weigh in.

Saturday's statement from the governor's office came a day after Democratic state Rep. John Bradley proposed legislation to jump-start fracking through a measure that would skip that rule-making process.

The state Legislature authorized the oil and gas drilling method last May, and the DNR has spent months holding hearings and sifting through tens of thousands of comments as part of the rule-making process that Illinois law requires to be completed by November.

Oil and gas industry representatives have complained that the process has taken too long and that the state was risking prospective drillers leaving the state and going elsewhere.

Grant Klinzman, a Quinn spokesman, said the administration takes hydraulic fracturing very seriously and is "making sure it is done right," adding that the DNR has done "an unprecedented amount of work to ensure the public, advocates and experts all have a voice in the process."

A message left Sunday at Bradley's Marion office was not immediately returned. Calls by The Associated Press to the lawmaker's home went unanswered.

The Department of Natural Resources was still reviewing the legislation Friday, spokesman Chris Young said.

A message seeking comment was left Sunday with another DNR spokesman, Chris McCloud.

Environmental groups interpret Bradley's bill as stripping rule-making power away from the state agency and leaving it in the hands of the Legislature. They say that the measure would hurt the state's ability to impose critical controls on a practice with the potential to pollute water and cause other ecological damage.