Check the status of this bill: SB3326
Overview: Residents of counties in Illinois are relegated to second class citizens by a regulatory differentiation between the rights of residents in municipalities vs. counties in the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act, (HFRA), which deviates from democratic principals.
- HFRA sets up a two-tiered system of unequal representation pertaining to permits for fracturing operations in Illinois. HFRA requires that permits for high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing and/or horizontal drilling with fracturing operations include documents certifying consent for these operations signed by the municipal authorities affiliated with the particular city, village, or incorporated town where a well site is proposed to be located, and that no permit be issued otherwise. HFRA denies counties the same right to decide about well site consent within their jurisdictions.
- The vast majority of fracturing operations in Illinois are going to occur outside of municipalities, in areas where the local government unit is the county.
- The intent of the legislation was to recognize that local units of government should have decision-making power regarding whether and where to allow fracturing in their jurisdictions.
- There is no substantive difference between a municipal or county government in Illinois with regard to powers other than the issue of Illinois Constitutional Home Rule. The lack of county Home Rule has never preempted a county power to issue permits on mineral or oil extraction, and numerous county governments have long histories and traditions in the permitting process regarding mineral and drilling industries.
- Counties and municipalities tax, employ law enforcement, provide social services and infrastructure, and the residents residing in Illinois county jurisdictions should have equal input regarding fracturing permits in their jurisdictions as do their counterparts in municipalities.
- A fair public process is essential to the permit challenge system created by HFRA, at the IDNR.
- The 60 days allowed in the HFRA for the permit challenge process, including any challenges by the local residents, businesses and governing bodies, is not long enough for residents, businesses and governing bodies to become aware of fracturing permit applications, to hire legal help, and secure expert witnesses in order to effectively challenge a permit at the IDNR.
- Sixty days is an arbitrary time frame in HFRA and can be extended to allow a fairer permit challenging process without onerous burdens on any of the involved parties.
Purpose of bill:
- This Amendment to HFRA seeks to empower Illinois county and municipal governments to retain their historical and traditional control regarding mineral and drilling industries and to inform their citizens of proposed high volume hydraulic fracturing operations or horizontal drilling with fracturing operations within their own jurisdictions.
- It would allow counties the right of “consent” for fracturing operations within their jurisdictions, just as cities, villages and incorporated towns now have under HFRA.
- It enables counties, cities, municipalities, villages and incorporated towns to develop a public process for discussing the approval or disapproval of consents for permits for high volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations and/or the horizontal drilling with fracturing operations that are proposed within their jurisdictions.
- This Amendment lengthens to 90 days the time given the public, businesses and local governments to engage in the public hearing process for challenges to permits, and to rebut any testimony at the IDNR.
Solution: Co-sponsor and support SB3326.