Frackers Could Take Over Your Town – Illinois cedes sovereignty to the extraction industry

City and county governments?  We don’t care about your stinking City and County governments. Drill baby drill.



Today (Saturday, 11/23/2013) is Day 9 of the IDNR 45 day comment period on fracking.  You’re all doing a great job sending in your comments.  We’re a fifth of the way through the comment period.  Let’s keep the pressure on. 

Today’s comment is on the Local Control

Here’s what to do to make your comment today:

·         Click the button: Subpart A: General Provisions

·         In the “Section” dropdown box, click 245.210 Permit Application Requirements

·         Submit your comments (below)

·         Click “Submit”


This section states that “when an application is made to frack a well site located within the limits of any city, village or incorporated town, the application shall state the name of the city, village, or incorporated town and be accompanied with a certified copy of the official consent for the high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations to occur from the municipal authorities where the well site is proposed to be located.  No permit shall be issued unless consent is secured and filed with the permit application.”

This is excellent for municipalities but what about counties???

*  The intent of the legislation was to recognize that local units of government should have decision-making power regarding whether to allow fracking in their jurisdictions.  

*  This section demonstrates blatant disregard for the realities of the geography of fracking in Illinois regarding cities compared to counties.  Little if any fracking is anticipated within the cities of Carbondale, Marion, Decatur or other metro areas affected by the majority of fracking land leases.  If prior notification and an intentional process of permitting is important for metropolitan communities, why are the proposed rules silent regarding neighborhoods in counties and the families living there?

*  There is no substantive difference between a municipal or county government in Illinois in its powers other than the issue of Illinois Constitutional Home Rule.  However, the lack of county Home Rule has never preempted a county power to issue permits on mineral or oil extraction.  Numerous county governments have long histories and traditions in the permitting process regarding mineral and drilling industries. As the current fracking law is largely silent on the issue of county control, IDNR rules should err on the side of history and citizen decision-making. 

*  Counties and municipalities of government tax, employ law enforcement, provide social services and infrastructure.  The rules provide no explanation why citizens residing in counties of Illinois should have less input regarding fracking permits.  The regulatory differentiation between the rights of residents in municipalities vs. counties creates a group of second class citizens. These second class citizens have fewer rights in their ability to participate and ultimately determine the type and quality of energy extraction allowed in their neighborhoods.

*  There is no reasonable expectation that the personnel at IDNR have any better or more clear understanding of the will of citizens in counties regarding fracking permits than the residents themselves.  As the proposed IDNR rules envision municipalities empowered to decide fracking sites, what possible argument does IDNR have that it is better equipped or knowledgeable on the needs of residents living in Illinois counties? 

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Go there and comment. More tomorrow.


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