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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Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
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Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Fossil Fuels
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Fossil Fuels
Under current policies, fossil fuels will play an important role in the energy system for the foreseeable future. EPIC research is exploring the costs and benefits of these fuels as...
Environment
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Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
Hydraulic Fracturing
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Hydraulic Fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing is perhaps the most important innovation in the energy system in the last half century, but nearby communities are concerned about its potential effects on water quality, public...