Illinois’ legislature last session failed to pass a law addressing fracking (hydraulic fracturing), and the result may be less that the state dodged a bullet and more that Illinoisans got a blindfold before the order to fire.
The House’s last-day attempt to impose a two-year moratorium and a tax on fracking scuttled SB3280, which in May sought to create fracking regulations where none exist (the Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempts it from the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and other federal environmental regulations). The state Senate unanimously approved the measure in April.
Illinois drivers are coming under more pressure to slow down and stay off their cell phones.
Governor Pat Quinn has signed four laws aimed at making roadways safer.
"We want to have strict laws that deal with those who greatly exceed the speed limit and cause great harm and loss of life," says Quinn, "and we need to, I think, lay down strict guidelines for our judges and for those in the traffic courts across Illinois, so they know what the rules are."
Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel says the current drought conditions have been slowly developing since the start of the calendar year.
"Every month, this year, has been below normal on precipitation and above normal on temperatures," says Angel. "You get that combination going and we were drying out in March, which is normally the 'budding' month."
Angel says the situation was not helped by a dry winter, which depleted some soil moisture, and less rain last summer and fall.