Registration open, but no permits yet

SPRINGFIELD (AP) – Companies that want to perform high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois may begin registering with the state.

But it will be several months before companies may apply for a permit to use the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law regulating fracking in July. It created a two-step permit application process that requires companies to first register with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

IDNR won’t accept applications for drilling permits until a legislative committee approves rules. Spokesman Chris McCloud said that process – which will include public hearings – will take months.

Fracking uses high-pressure mixtures of water, chemicals and sand to crack rock formations deep underground to release oil and gas.

Opponents fear it will pollute and deplete water resources.