Executive Director
Energy Council


February 21, 2018

Legislators are back this week, but only the Senate is in.  Nothing of substance happened in the Senate yesterday and no committee hearings in the energy and environment space are scheduled. With the filing deadline last Friday, that means this week's report is full of new bills.  Keep in mind, however, filing deadlines do not mean much anymore, so we can anticipate more later this session.  Here is an excel document of the full list of bills being tracked by the Energy Council and PDF that includes bill descriptions.  Many of you have received emails from me identifying bills or asking for feedback - that will continue this week.  If you don't but there is something of importance to your organizations, please let us know so we can be as helpful to you as possible!  Onto the update.

HB5748 (Costello), a Chamber initiative.  This legislation serves as a starting point for potential fracking rework and an opportunity to start the conversation.  In its current form, it removes one permitting requirement and reduces the taxes collected. The lone company that applied for and was granted a permit to drill in Illinois withdrew its permit last year, citing burdensome permitting process and regulatory compliance costs, combined with low oil and gas prices, in its decision to drop drilling plans in the New Albany Shale.  The Chamber was engaged in the 2013 drafting of the Hydraulic Fracturing Act and saw the potential for bringing jobs, opportunity, and overall economic development to Southern Illinois.  That hasn't happened.  Illinois should be on a level playing field with other states and provide the opportunity to create jobs while safely and responsibly utilizing all our resources - gas, wind, solar, coal, etc.  The Chamber intends to secure a subject matter hearing on this legislation this session.

HB5564 (Moeller), which is identical legislation to legislation introduced last year.  The bill delays eminent domain proceedings to stop pipeline expansion by requiring the final jury decision before a change in title may occur.  Last year, the legislation received a subcommittee hearing in House Judiciary-Civil, but was not voted out of subcommittee. 

HB5119 (Andersson) and SB3005 (Raoul) changes the definition of an impacted party to give new legal standing to individuals who will be able to sue over air pollution, ground water contamination, etc. This vastly expands who has standing in a case which are currently limited to affected parties.  This stems from a case filed in 2012 by environmentalists and residents arguing a proposed mine would have property and health impacts to the residents.  The Court dismissed that case.
HB5299 (Mitchell) and SB3156 (Aquino) require the EPA to refer all environmental violations to the Attorney General. 
HB5716 (Guzzardi), which would require the written consent of every mineral owner before fracking may begin.
HB5743 (Drury), which prohibits IDNR from issuing any permits for fracking and repeals the Hydraulic Fracking Act.
SB3548 (Rose), which requires IDNR to evaluate contaminant releases and changes notice requirements, and SB3549 (Rose), which requires IDNR to conduct annual inspections at all gas facilities.  Representative Rose introduced these and other bills in response to a natural gas spill in Champaign County over the Mahomet Aquifer and is likely to keep the legislation focused on natural gas pipelines associated with the spill and not the larger oil/gas industry.  More to come.
SR1416 (Rose), which requires DNR to undertake a study and report back with all current regulations for oil and gas pipelines and make recommendations for change.
Retail Electric Suppliers/Electric and Natural Gas Utilities
HB4727 (Morrison), among other provisions, requires that the cost of new facility construction cannot be subsidized by existing customers in excess of any refundable or nonrefundable payments. It also requires the ICC to initiate a docketed investigation reviewing each gas public utility tariff that provides for gas main extensions without additional charge to new customers and that the ICC shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding to establish a uniform method for how natural gas public utilities determine the value of any gas main extensions provided to new customers without additional charge.

HB5101 (Evans), effectively limits both gas and electric retail energy choice to suppliers serving customers through municipal aggregation programs.

*There have been many bills introduced affecting the energy choice markets - those are further listed in our full list.  At the end of last year, the ICC finalized rules in an effort to make the retail choice market more transparent.  The consumer advocacy groups believe the rules could have gone further, thus we see a myriad of legislation affecting that sector.  We also could see additional legislation this session that could strengthen enforcement authority over suppliers who fail to comply with the ICC's rules.

HB5082 (Morrison), which requires a natural gas utility to submit with its annual filing certain information concerning existing and newly installed pipeline facilities to the ICC; and HB5083 (Morrison) requires a public utility to demonstrate that existing customers will not subsidize the cost of new facilities beyond what is provided for in rules and in excess of certain payments by customers to approve new construction.  Further requires the ICC's order for new construction shall address the economic impact on customers.

VW Settlement Funds
SB3055 (Steans) would specify that 15% of the VW settlement money be spent on "Light Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Supply Equipment" i.e. charging states and that the rest must be spent on replacing fossil fueled vehicles with electric, but it is limited to large trucks, buses and medium trucks.  

SB3101 (Castro), sets up a VW settlement fund task force.  Currently, the Task Force does not include members of the business community.

Illinois women are Second to No One. On March 27, 2018 join the Illinois Chamber of Commerce at our inaugural conference to empower our already Strong Women for a Stronger Illinois. Join us as we harness the experiences, leadership, and aspirations of women in business, politics, and the nonprofit world to explore what it takes to put more cracks in that glass ceiling. Hear from inspiring women who've been through it and take away that energy to blaze your own path.


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