The fracking legislation that fell apart this spring has now been put back together. Politicians, industry, labor and some environmentalists announced fracking regulations in February, to regulate the process of using high-pressure water, sand and chemicals to crack rock and release oil and natural gas. The deal fell apart over the concern by Operating Engineers Local 150 that Illinoisans get the jobs that fracking will create, and environmentalists’ worry that some drillers would skirt the intent of the law.
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Negotiations produced resolutions to these problems:
“We’ve created a small incentive for companies to hire local, that only if companies hire a majority of Illinois workers will they be allowed to receive this incentive,” said Mark Denzler of the Illinois Manufacturers Association. The incentive is on the severance or extraction fees that drillers will have to pay to the state.
The new measure defines high-volume fracking as fracking that either uses more than 80,000 gallons of water in any one stage, or a total of more than 300,000 gallons. Environmentalists had become aware of a test well in Colorado that used less than the amount of water that defined high-volume fracking in the original bill; this two-part definition is designed to prevent such drillers from being considered conventional driller.
Denzler expects a committee hearing on the new bill as early as today (Thursday). Supporters say fracking will create jobs, and revenue for the state.