On Thursday, May 31, 2013, the Illinois House approved the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act to regulate high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing and impose a tax on oil and gas produced from wells permitted under the Act. The measure passed 108-9 and now moves to the Illinois Senate, where it is expected to pass.

A number of energy companies have acquired leases on land in the New Albany shale formation in southeastern Illinois in anticipation of the legislation’s approval. If approved by the Senate and signed by Governor Pat Quinn, energy companies using hydraulic fracturing techniques to extract oil and gas in Illinois would face certain disclosure, insurance, and permitting requirements which Governor Quinn has stated are, “the nation’s strongest environmental protections.”

Among the provisions in the potential Act are requirements that companies who wish to engage in hydraulic fracturing apply for a permit, publicly disclose the chemicals they use, monitor water quality, and accept liability for any water pollution. The full text of the legislation is available here.

Proponents say hydraulic fracturing would spur economic development and create thousands of jobs in the State of Illinois. Some opponents of the legislation argued for a moratorium to allow more time to study environmental issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing, while others pushed for county by county regulation of the practice.

The North American Shale Blog will continue to track the progress of this legislation in Illinois and report on important developments.