On July 10, 2015, the Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court denied a motion to enjoin the application of Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) proposed hydraulic fracturing rules.
In November 2013, IDNR issued proposed regulations implementing the Hydraulic Fracturing Act of June 17, 2013 in accordance with the applicable procedures and rules of the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) approved final regulations in November 2014.
At the same time, a group of Illinois residents and a non-profit organization, Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment (SAFE), filed a motion for Preliminary Relief before the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Madison County seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of said regulations. They claimed that IDNR failed to comply with the statutory rulemaking procedures and violated the Administrative Procedure Act. As a result, plaintiffs alleged that the rules “were incomplete, inadequate, and invalidly enacted” and “would cause irreparable harm to the Plaintiffs and other members of the public who were deprived of an adequate opportunity to participate in the development of the proposed rules as required under [the Act].”
On November 21, 2014, the Circuit Court denied the motion holding that plaintiffs did not properly establish irreparable injury. Plaintiffs appealed the Court’s decision.
The Appellate Court affirmed the Madison County Circuit Court’s decision and held that “plaintiffs’ claims are too speculative to justify the extraordinary relief afforded by the issuance of a preliminary injunction.” Therefore, the court opined that plaintiffs failed to raise a fair question as to the existence of irreparable harm.
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow