SB3485 – Fracturing Redefined

Check the status of this bill: SB3485

The Risk:  The Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act, (HFRA), will not apply to approximately 2/3rds or greater of  the fracturing wells that are planned for Illinois.  


  • Not all fracturing for oil and natural gas is “High-Volume, Hydraulic Fracturing”. The New Albany Shale Gas Project, report # 07122-16, completed in November, 2010, was written to help develop alternative gas, foam, gel, nitrogen, and chemical methods of fracturing the shallow shale of Illinois.  These alternative gas, foam, gel, nitrogen, and chemical methods of fracturing most likely will not use 300,000 gallons of water, so they will not qualify for most of the regulations, stipulations, bonds, insurance and the production tax under HFRA.  Therefore, the Act does not truly regulate all “fracturing” in Illinois.
  • These alternative methods of “fracturing” or “stimulation treatments” can be just as dangerous as “High Volume, Hydraulic Fracturing”.  The intention by the industry to use fracturing processes that use mainly gas, foam, gel, nitrogen, and chemicals has been made apparent by the Illinois Oil and Gas Association in a comment to the IDNR, during the public comment period on the draft rules for fracking, and reported to the media:  The industry commented that the General Assembly when passing HFRA, “specifically did not contemplate applying these rigid requirements to all forms of stimulation treatment”.
  • HFRA has been misrepresented to the general legislative body and to the concerned public as regulating all fracturing processes, but actually only regulates fracturing processes using mainly water.  More information can be found at the Chicago Tribune article: “Illinois fracking law has big loophole, environmentalists say”.

Purpose of bill: To include all horizontal drilling with fracturing operations in the regulatory framework of HFRA. The regulations in HCRA, and the production taxes, bonds and insurance should be applied to all fracturing operations, without regard to whether mostly water, gases, foams, gels or chemicals are used as a stimulation treatment.

The definitions for terms used in the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act, HFRA, are changed.

  • Makes changes to various definitions adding references to “horizontal drilling with fracturing operations”. Defines “flowback”, “fracturing”, “stimulation treatment”, and “horizontal drilling”.
  • Changes the definition of “high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations” to include “horizontal drilling with fracturing operations”, with the meaning of all stages of controlled directional drilling of wells with lateral penetration of at least 100 feet through a geologic formation targeted for oil, natural gas liquids, or natural gas extraction which uses fracturing.  
  • Changes the definition of fracturing to include “stimulation treatment” with the meaning of the process of pumping fluids, gas, or other substances with or without proppant down a well under pressure designed to initiate and propagate fractures or fracture networks in the targeted geologic formation to facilitate oil, natural gas liquids, or natural gas extraction.

Solution: Co-sponsor and support SB3485 to ensure that HFRA applies to all fracturing operations and stimulation treatments. 


One response to “SB3485 – Fracturing Redefined

  1. Pingback: “The Green Dozen” | Frack Free Illinois

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