By Patrick D. Joyce, Philip L. Comella, and William R. Schubert

Illinois and California, two states that passed major pieces of legislation governing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) earlier this year, have just released drafts of the regulations that will implement their new laws.

What are the major issues?  While the two States’ schemes are not identical (please see our previous blog posts discussing the key components of the Illinois and California statues), they share some important similarities. For example, a permit under either set of regulations would require disclosures of certain chemical constituents, subject to potential trade secret protection.  It would also require preliminary analyses that map out the likely effect of well stimulation on groundwater, as well as the submission of management plans that document the existence of specific groundwater protection measures and anticipated water usage.  These types of requirements include substantive and procedural components that have yet to be set in stone in Illinois and California.

The draft Illinois regulations are open to public comment through January 3, 2014.  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is charged with administering the law, had originally planned two public meetings to address its draft regulations.  It just added three more, presumably due to the high level of stakeholder involvment.  The updated Illinois public meeting schedule is available on the DNR website.

Public comment in California is open through January 14, 2014.  The pertinent administrative body is the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), part of California’s Department of Commerce. DOGGR has five meetings scheduled, all in January 2014 (see the DOGGR website).  The final California rules will not go into effect until January 2015, but a set of emergency regulations are expected in the interim.