Ill. lawmakers file bill to regulate 'fracking'

CHICAGO (KFVS/AP) - Two downstate lawmakers have introduced a bill to regulate high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois.

Marion Democratic state Rep. John Bradley and Olney Republican David Reis filed the bill Thursday. Supporters of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," believe the bill has a good shot because it was negotiated by officials from industry and agriculture, environmentalists, lawmakers and Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Fracking uses high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack rock formations and release oil and gas. The industry is eyeing southern Illinois' New Albany shale deposits.

Critics say the state needs more time to study safety issues and evaluate best practices.

"Today's proposal is good news for southern Illinois and our entire state's economy. This legislation has the potential to bring thousands of jobs to Southern Illinois, while also ensuring that Illinois has the nation's strongest environmental protections," said Gov. Pat Quinn. "I am committed to creating jobs and economic growth in every part of Illinois, and always making sure our water and natural resources are protected for future generations. I want to thank everyone who's been working hard in good faith on this issue. While there is more work to be done, this proposal moves us forward."

The regulatory bill filing comes two weeks after a Senate bill called for a 2-year moratorium on the practice.

The legislation is HB2615.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.