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Illinois Governor Signs “Fracking” Law

Article by: Arnstein & Lehr Attorneys William J. Anaya and Matthew E. Cohn, Environmental Practice Group

Article: Summary of the New Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Law


After considerable debate involving dueling interests, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act into law in Illinois — providing Illinois with a remarkably new regulatory program designed to support the interests of the oil and gas industry and to provide for responsible stewardship of the environment.

According to Arnstein & Lehr’s Environmental Practice Group Leader Bill Anaya, “The new law is not for the uninitiated. It involves a complex registration, application and enforcement process, and the key for either side — most assuredly for those seeking to participate in the fracking process — will be to make an administrative record that supports the process in the very likely event of a challenge.”

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney Matthew Cohn, who worked for several years as a geologist before entering the legal profession, says “Illinois’ low permeability shale formations have not been the source of much oil and gas historically, but recent advancements in fracking and horizontal drilling technology have improved the chances of developing the New Albany Shale formation in southern Illinois as a new source of energy. This new law keeps up with the new technology and the new opportunities.”

While fracking in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania resulted in an oil and gas boom in that state, it remains to be seen whether fracking in the New Albany Shale in Illinois will have the same impact. However, if oil and gas are found reasonably accessible in the New Albany Shale, Illinois will benefit with new jobs, additional revenue and remarkable opportunities.

Arnstein & Lehr LLP is prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Illinois’ new fracking law is the product of a collaboration involving industry, labor, and environmental groups. Illinois’ fracking law is remarkably different — and more complicated — than the law in other states. Indeed, Illinois’ new fracking law arguably involves some of the strongest environmental controls and the greatest transparency associated with fracking operations anywhere in the nation.

Under the new law, fracking operations in Illinois are regulated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources through an elaborate registration, application, permitting, financial assurance, public participation and enforcement process. In addition, the new law includes a complicated taxation feature designed to augment the public fisc.

To learn more about the new “fracking” law in Illinois, please contact Bill Anaya at 312.876.7109 or wjanaya@arnstein.com or Matthew Cohn at 312.876.7188 or mecohn@arnstein.com. For a more complete summary of the new law, please click the article link above.