As a member of the Green Caucus, I value our environment and it’s protection. This past session, I cosponsored several successful measures including significant improvements to both urban and rural composting and growth of wind energy. Much work remains to be done, including an update to our renewable portfolio standards which would increase our use of alternative energy sources.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has been a highly contentious issue that constituents have been very vocal about. This method of extracting natural gas from beneath the ground poses various environmental risks. While fracking has already started in Illinois, we lack fundamental regulations. My strongest objective was to achieve a moratorium and establishment of a task force to examine the environmental threats. Unfortunately this effort has failed in recent years and while we had some hope this session, HB 3086 did not garner enough support to pass. Additionally, a moratorium failed on a procedural vote in the Senate.
In lieu of a moratorium, failure to act would mean fracking would continue unregulated. In addition to cosponsoring the moratorium, I cosponsored a regulatory framework which passed the House 108-9. This legislation was negotiated and supported by the Sierra Club of Illinois, the Natural Resource Defense Council and several other environmental groups. It represents the strongest regulations in the nation, providing for strong safeguards from pollution. While the results are not ideal, these regulations will prevent unregulated fracking and will help to avoid negative environmental consequences.