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Quinn signs into law tough fracking regulations

Opponents of fracking rally at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., on March 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

ST. LOUIS • Landowners in southern Illinois' Wayne County are suing the state, saying its lengthy process before issuing permits for high-volume oil and gas extraction is costing them money.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of seven households names Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller.

A state legislative panel is trying to sort out rules for how developers would deploy hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," under an Illinois law approved last year.

But the lawsuit alleges that that delay has left acreage the plaintiff property owners have leased to would-be drillers in limbo, amounting to unconstitutional government seizure of the parcels.

The lawsuit says developers have spent more than $100 million acquiring leases to thousands of acres.

Messages with Quinn and Miller spokespeople weren't immediately returned Thursday.

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