In Los Angeles this Wednesday, three City Council members introduced a resolution urging the Governor and California regulators to impose a moratorium on fracking until the state determines that the practice does not endanger public health, the water supply or the environment.  The concern arises in part because California, unlike some other oil-producing states, does not require fracking operators to disclose the locations of their fracking operations or the chemicals they use.  In the absence of statewide regulations, local communities are considering whether they should regulate fracking.

On a regional scale, South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) officials are considering new rules that target emissions from fracking operations.  South Coast officials discussed the AQMD’s authority to pursue the new rules at its June 1 meeting.  Sources say South Coast is the first AQMD to consider fracking rules, which could come before state and federal regulations and may cover a wider scope of operations than EPA’s currently proposed rule (such as high-pressure gas wells).  The South Coast rules would require fracking operators to disclose the types and amounts of chemicals used.  Before deciding whether to pursue the new rules, District officials indicate that they want to study the issue in more detail and meet to discuss the issue with stakeholders.  In response, the Western States Petroleum Association indicated that the types of air quality issues addressed by the proposed EPA rule are not generally associated with fracking for crude oil production, which accounts for most of the fracking operations in California.

Co-Authored by Michael N. Mills and Robin B. Seifried.