Manufacturers' Association: Fracking A Southern Illinois Issue

Sep 11, 2014

A coalition of labor unions and members of the oil industry is asking Illinois lawmakers to step back in the fracking process. 

Credit Illinois DNR

State officials are still working on the rules to govern hydraulic fracturing.

Environmentalists criticized DNR's first version. The pro-fracking group GROW is upset about the second draft.

Jim Watson heads the Illinois Petroleum Council. He says Illinois is losing an opportunity to bring in energy companies.

"Nobody's going to invest the millions of dollars it takes if we don't have a stable environment. This is sending the signal that you're not sure what you're going to get," Watson said.

The latest set of rules now goes before a bipartisan legislative commission. Watson and the rest of the GROW coalition want the commission to order DNR to again revise its proposal.

The Illinois Manufacturers' Association's Mark Denzler says the rules suggested by the Department of Natural Resources on public hearings are too loose. He says only people with direct ties to the affected area should be able to comment.

"You shouldn't have somebody, you know, sitting in their pajamas in their basement, who is 2,000 miles away and they're concerned about the polar bear losing Arctic ice being able to weigh in on a southern Illinois issue," Denzler said.

A spokesperson with the Illinois Environmental Council says groups like hers are focused on public health, protecting the state's water supply, and keeping the fracking application process transparent.