The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has not yet finalized the administrative rules for the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act signed into law in June 2013. It has been over 400 days since the General Assembly passed the law in Illinois that will allow hydraulic fracturing to start in the state and some proponents say that opportunities for job and revenue growth in the state are being lost because of the delay.
According to one study from Illinois State University, the hydraulic fracturing industry could create up to 45,000 jobs in Illinois in the next five years, something Illinois AFL-CIO President Mike Carrigan says the state can't pass up for unemployed workers in southern Illinois. "When they go to work, there are paychecks on Friday," he said. "Paychecks go in the community banks, those members become consumers in their community and then the communities in the area benefit from the economic stimulus."
Back in July, Dan Eichholz with the Illinois Petroleum Council commented that, "[i]f Illinois doesn't get its act together, companies are going to decide to invest elsewhere, and we are going to miss the boat." Mr. Eichholz's statements may be coming true. Indiana, which shares the New Albany Oil Shale with Illinois, already has a natural gas industry up and running. According to Mark Denzler with the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, some companies which had contracts secured in Illinois in anticipation of hydraulic fracturing have focused their investment in Indiana as opposed to waiting for Illinois.
IDNR received some 35,000 public comments on the state's proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing and the agency says it is working hard to review all the comments received.