In Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn approved hydraulic fracturing legislation on June 17, 2013. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released proposed administrative rules to implement this legislation on November 15, 2013 – Proposed Administrative Rules for the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act and Proposed Administrative Rules for Seismicity to monitor Class II UIC wells receiving any hydraulic fracturing fluids.

The rules require oil and gas companies to disclosure chemicals used in fracking operations both before and after drilling and to test water before, during and after drilling. The rules also require the operators to provide information as to how the well will be drilled, how much fluid will be used, what pressures will be used, how water will be obtained, and how flowback fluids will be disposed. Before finalizing these rules, the DNR will hold two public hearings (November 26, 2013 in Chicago and December 3, 2013 in Ina) and will accept comments on the proposed rules through January 3, 2014.

In California, Governor Jerry Brown approved hydraulic fracturing legislation on September 20, 2013. Proposed regulations to implement the legislation were issued by the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) on November 15, 2013. These regulations are open for public comment for 60 days (until mid-January), with five public hearings scheduled for early next year.

Under the proposed regulations, oil and gas companies would be required to apply for and obtain permits before starting hydraulic fracturing activities, notify near-by landowners of these activities, disclose all chemicals used during fracking, watch pressures and flow rates during well stimulation, and monitor groundwater quality before, during and after drilling. For the chemical disclosures, the oil and gas companies would be required to identify in the permit application what chemicals are anticipated to be used and then, within 60 days of fracking completion, to disclosure what chemicals were actually used during the operation. This information must be disclosed publicly through the Chemical Disclosure Registry (FracFocus.org).

The proposed regulations also require operators to continuously monitor pressures and flow rates during well stimulation, evaluate the condition of the well’s cement, and analyze surrounding wells and earthquake faults to prevent hydraulic fracturing fluids from migrating to other areas. While these proposed regulations will not go into effect until January 1, 2015, the DOGGR announced that emergency regulations will be in place by January 1, 2014.


This post was written by Barclay Nicholson (barclay.nicholson@nortonrosefulbright.com or 713.651.3662) from Norton Rose Fulbright’s Energy Practice Group.