By Alex Ruppenthal
A set of bills introduced this month in the Illinois legislature would update the state’s fracking law to increase protections for land owners and require more information from oil and gas companies applying for fracking permits.
Organizers from several environmental groups held a press conference Tuesday in Springfield to discuss three new pieces of legislation.
All are aimed at the state’s 2013 law that regulates hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses high-pressure chemicals and water to create cracks and release oil and gas from shale formations deep beneath the Earth’s surface.
Studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have linked fracking to possible water contamination, and fracking has also been associated with an increased risk of earthquakes. A recent University of Chicago-led study found that babies born within 2 miles of a fracking site are more likely to be born at a low birth weight, increasing their risk of asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and infant mortality.
One of the new bills, sponsored by state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, would require companies to obtain written consent from owners of land and mineral rights who would be affected by a new horizontal fracking well.
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