California’s Department of Conservation will conduct a series of workshops at locations throughout the state over the next three months to discuss hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The purpose of the workshops is to gather information as the Department considers the adoption of regulations governing fracking.
Various news sources have reported on recent legislative action directed at regulation of fracking in California. (See here and here.) On May 9, the Assembly Subcommittee on Resources and Transportation approved Governor Jerry Brown’s request for an additional 18 positions in the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to step up regulation of the oil industry and eliminate a backlog of drilling-permit applications, conditioned on the adoption of fracking regulations by 2014.
Additionally, state legislators are currently considering two bills that would regulate fracking in California in different ways. The first, AB 591 (Wieckowski), would require the disclosure of certain information regarding fracking operations, including the chemicals used in fracking, unless protected as a trade secret. The second, SB 1054 (Pavley), would, among other things, require notification to neighboring property owners and occupants of proposed fracking operations.
The first fracking workshop will be conducted on May 16 at 7:00 p.m. in Bakersfield, at the Kern County Board of Supervisors chambers, first floor, 1115 Truxtun Avenue (map). Additional workshops will be conducted at locations yet to be announced in Ventura (May 30), Culver City (June 12), Long Beach (June 13), Salinas (June 27), Santa Maria (July 11), and Sacramento (July 25).
Each workshop will begin with an overview of oil and gas production in California, including discussion of California’s geologic formations where oil and natural gas are found. Existing well construction requirements and what those regulations protect against will follow. The overview presentation will also focus on technical, non-policy aspects of hydraulic fracturing.
The Department will use input from the workshops and from an independent scientific study of the practice of hydraulic fracturing to prepare draft regulations for circulation to interested and affected parties. The Department expects to start the rulemaking process by later Summer or early Fall 2012, and welcomes public comment on that process. Comments may be submitted by email to email@example.com.
May 15 Update: Eric Adair will live-tweet the May 16 Bakersfield fracking workshop beginning at 7:00 p.m. (signal permitting in the Board of Supervisors chambers). Follow Eric on Twitter: Follow @kericadair
For more information regarding this matter, please contact Eric Adair.