But these are important technical comments. So get to it.

Day 41, 12/25/13  Merry Christmas!  Yes, we’re hoping you’ll take just a minute from your festivities to comment on the fact that IDNR violated it’s own rules with regard to the 5 hearings it held around the state. 

Topic – DEFICIENT NOTICE FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS
This comment is in response to the paragraphs of the published notices setting the dates for the public hearings on the Proposed Amendments to the Rules under the Oil and Gas Act and on the Proposed Rules under the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act.  37 Illinois Register 18081, 18081-82 (November 15, 2013); 37 Illinois Register 18097, 18099 (November 15, 2013); 37 Illinois Register 19746 (December 6, 2013); 37 Illinois Register 19747 (December 6, 2013).
Comment:
DNR did not provide the required public notice for any of the public hearings, because in each case the notice for the hearing was not published in the Illinois Register at least 20 days before the hearing.  Although the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act allows DNR to hold a public hearing, in response to a request for a hearing, less than 20 days after public notice in the Illinois Register if the notice of hearing is published in the notice of proposed rulemaking (5 ILCS 100/5-40), DNR has chosen by rule to require a minimum of 20 days’ notice.  DNR’s adopted rule for scheduling public hearings states as follows:
“The Hearing Officer shall set a time and place for hearing and shall give notice as follows, at least 20 days prior to the date of the hearing;
a) to the proponent, by mail;
b) to members of the general public, by means of a general news release and notice in the Illinois Register.”  2 Ill. Admin. Code 825.140.
The first notice of public hearings–for Chicago and Ina–was published in the Illinois Register on November 15, 2013.  But the Chicago hearing took place on November 26, 2013, and the Ina hearing took place on December 3, 2013.  Each of those hearings was held on less than 20 days’ notice.
The second notice of public hearings–for Effingham, Decatur, and Carbondale–was published in the Illinois Register on December 6, 2013.  But the Effingham hearing took place on December 16, 2013, the Decatur hearing took place on December 17, 2013, and the Carbondale hearing took place on December 19, 2013.  Each of those hearings was held on less than 20 days’ notice.
Thus, DNR’s public hearings were held in violation of its own administrative rules.  These violations deprived the citizens of a  meaningful opportunity to be heard.
The remedy for this violation is either additional hearings in these areas, each with the required minimum 20 days’ notice, or alternatively, a new First Notice with the opportunity for new public hearings and a new public comment period.
Illinois People’s Action
510 E. Washington St. Suite 309
BloomingtonIL 61701
United States

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