Illinois’ first fracking permit returned by Kansas company

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The company that obtained the first fracking permit in Illinois has announced it won’t use it, citing market conditions and the state’s “burdensome and costly” regulations.

Wichita, Kansas-based Woolsey Companies Inc. was given permission in September by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to drill near the southeast Illinois community of Enfield.

In announcing Friday it is giving up the permit, Woolsey vice president Mark Sooter said the effort to receive the permit was difficult due to Illinois’ rules and regulations. Sooter went on to say that it appears the difficult process to obtain permits will continue into the future.

The Illinois Legislature in 2013 passed a law regulating fracking. At the time, the law was considered one of the most stringent in the nation. But oil prices soon dropped, and companies that secured leases to frack put their plans on hold.