Section 240.1820  Permit Requests in a Underground Gas Storage Field


a)         When the proposed location to drill, deepen, convert or amend an oil or gas production or Class II well, as defined in Subparts B and C, or a test hole, as defined in Subpart L, occurs within the limits of an underground gas storage field, or within any protective boundary shown on the gas storage operators map submitted to the Department, a permit shall not be issued until the applicant complies with subsection (a)(1) or (2):


1)         The applicant enters into an agreement with the gas storage operator, outlining safety precautions and well drilling, completion, operating and plugging specifications.  The agreement shall be signed by the applicant and the gas storage operator and shall be submitted with the permit application.


2)         The applicant submits a copy of an agreement previously reached with the gas storage operator that governs the relationship between the applicant and the gas storage operator with respect to safety precautions and well drilling, completion, operating and plugging issues.  The agreement must be in full effect and cover the proposed drilling location.


3)         If an agreement cannot be reached after the applicant has exercised due diligence in negotiations, the applicant shall notify the gas storage operator of the proposed location and depth of the well by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The certified mail receipt shall be attached to the permit application.  If a written objection is not received by the Department within 15 days after the date of receipt, the permit shall be issued, subject to the fulfillment of all other requirements for the issuance of a permit under this Part, the Act, or the Illinois Oil and Gas Act.  If a written objection to the application is filed with the Department within 15 days after receipt of the notice of application, the Department shall consider the objection in determining whether the permit should be issued.  If the objection raises a question regarding public safety, resource ownership or sufficiency of application, the permit objection shall be set for a public hearing.  A hearing shall be set only after all other requirements for issuance of the permit have been fulfilled.


b)         Administrative Hearing


1)         Any hearing held pursuant to this Section shall be a formal hearing conducted by the Department solely for the purpose of resolving the factual or legal question raised by the objection.


2)         Notice of the hearing shall be sent by the Department to the applicant and to the objector by mailing the notice by U.S. Mail,  postage prepaid, addressed to their last known home or business addresses.


3)         A certified court reporter shall record the hearing at the Department's expense.


4)         A Hearing Officer designated by the Department shall conduct the hearing.  The Hearing Officer shall allow all parties at the hearing to present evidence in any form, including by oral testimony or documentary evidence, unless the Hearing Officer determines the evidence is irrelevant, immaterial, unduly repetitious, or of such a nature that reasonably prudent members of the public or people knowledgeable in the oil and gas field would not rely upon it in the conduct of their affairs.


5)         The Hearing Officer shall have the power to continue the hearing or to leave the record open for a certain period of time in order to obtain or receive further relevant evidence.


6)         Within 30 days after the closing of the record or the receipt of the transcript of the hearing, whichever comes later, the Department shall render a decision on the objection.


7)         All hearings under this Section shall be conducted in the Department's offices located in Springfield, Illinois by a Hearing Officer designated by the Director and conducted in accordance with Article 10 of the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act [5 ILCS 100].


(Source:  Amended at 43 Ill. Reg. 11524, effective September 24, 2019)