Rules for hydraulic fracturing approved by House committee

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SPRINGFIELD - A plan sponsored by Representative John Bradley that would speed up hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in Illinois has been approved by a House committee.  Despite protests from environmentalists, the Executive Committee voted 7-4 Monday to advance the plan.

Under Bradley's legislation, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources would lose the power to adopt rules for the extraction method known as "fracking."  Bradley is frustrated because lawmakers approved fracking a year ago, but the department still hasn't produced rules and drilling equipment lies unused.

Environmentalists say the plan not only takes rule-making authority away from professionals, but that it disregards tens of thousands of public comments.  Protestors held signs during the committee that read, "Don't silence 35,000 voices on fracking."

The bill moves to the House floor.

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