Taking effect earlier this month, Senate Bill 88 was approved overwhelmingly last legislative session and signed by the Governor as another effort to combat drought and water supply shortage conditions in the State of California. Senate Bill 88 – among other things – authorized the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) to adopt
On Monday, November 30, California Department of Conservation Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) Supervisor Steven Bohlen submitted his resignation to Governor Jerry Brown, less than 18 months after taking the position.
A statement issued by Governor Brown reveals that Steven Bohlen will return to his position at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory …
In a process that took nearly three years to complete, on Monday, November 9, the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a significant change to its oil and gas regulations.
The change affects Title 19 of the Kern County Zoning Ordinance and provides a streamline permitting process for oil and gas operations. The…
On October 21, 2015, the California Water Commission (“CWC”) adopted emergency regulations formulated by the Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) that establish a process by which local agencies may seek groundwater basin boundary modifications. The proposed regulations are the first of their kind authorizing DWR to formally consider requests by local agencies to modify groundwater…
On August 28, Earthjustice filed a petition with the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) seeking to overturn a Central Valley Regional Water Board (“Regional Board”) order allowing an oil and gas wastewater disposal company to maintain their ongoing waste water operations, which can employ unlined disposal pits in Kern County.
Valley Water Management…
As one of many implementation steps under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA” codified as Water Code §§ 10720 et seq.), basin boundary regulations were released recently by the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”), with a public comment deadline set for Friday, September 4. DWR is holding public meetings this week to solicit…
AB 1390 aims in unprecedented fashion to expedite procedures and processes for groundwater adjudications, which, in California, are known to take one or two decades before reaching a final judgment. The bill would add various provisions to the California Code of Civil Procedure that would be codified as Sections 830 through 849. AB 1390 was…
With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) taking effect on January 1, 2015, the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) is in full swing of holding public workshops and information sessions to solicit input from stakeholders and other members of the public as well as to answer questions regarding SGMA’s various milestone requirements.
Today, July 30, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) filed a complaint in Sacramento County Superior Court against the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”). CBD claims, among other things, that DOGGR failed to comply with Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”) by releasing its Final EIR regarding oil and gas well stimulation treatment prior to the release of a state-mandated Independent Study.
This lawsuit strikes us as more of a shout out to the Legislature and the Governor to highlight CBD’s ongoing disappointment with SB 4, more than anything else. CBD mistakenly construes SB 4 to require DOGGR to analyze and incorporate the Independent Study’s findings into its Final EIR, when no such requirement is found in the law. Indeed, by its terms, SB 4 only requires DOGGR to comply with the following requirements relating to the EIR:
- The EIR shall be certified by the division as the lead agency, no later than July 1, 2015.
- The EIR shall address the issue of activities that may be conducted as defined in Section 3157 and that may occur at oil wells in the state existing prior to, and after, the effective date of this section.
- The EIR shall not conflict with an EIR conducted by a local lead agency that is certified on or before July 1, 2015.
(Pub. Resources Code, § 3161.) The Legislature, not the Sacramento County Superior Court, is the proper body to which this additional request should be made, as there is currently no law mandating it.
Continue Reading Activists ask Court to Scrap EIR and Stop Fracking
A lawsuit seeking an immediate halt to oil and gas wastewater injection at 2,500 wells across California took a positive turn for energy producers last week as Superior Court Judge George C. Hernandez denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in a closely watched case challenging long-standing operations in the California oil and gas industry.
Plaintiffs in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Conservation, California Superior Court, Alameda County, asked the court to throw out the emergency proposed rulemaking recently issued by the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”). Additionally, the plaintiffs sought an injunction to stop injection wells operating in disputed aquifers.
Under the emergency proposed rulemaking, wastewater injections into non-exempt aquifers must be phased out by 2017. The proposed phasing-out period gives both DOGGR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) the opportunity to determine whether some of the aquifers should be considered suitable places to inject produced water.
In finding no evidence of risk of imminent harm to protected non-exempt aquifers, the court concluded: “On this record, the threat of such contamination [of drinking water aquifers] is theoretical and speculative and plainly outweighed by the other harms [to the public, economy and industry] which are virtually certain to occur if an injunction issues.”
Continue Reading Fate of Injection Wells in Historically Exempt Aquifers Comes Closer to Determination