On February 12, California lawmakers convened a joint legislative hearing to discuss the proposed regulations governing hydraulic fracturing in California.  For further information about the proposed regulations, see the December 19 post.  The lawmakers heard from four panels, including the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), Department of Toxic Substances Control, State Water Resources Control Board, Air Resources Board and various local agencies, stakeholders and environmental organizations. 

Lawmakers asked the agencies to address potential impacts of fracking relating to seismic activity, soil contamination, and drinking water quality.  In response, the agencies indicated that they do not believe fracking poses significant risk to the environmental or public health.  Other key questions raised focused on the timeline for notification of planned fracking activities to surrounding property owners and the disclosure of the ingredients in fracking fluids.  Participants also questioned whether regulatory agencies had enough qualified personnel on staff to conduct critical inspections and enforce the regulations. 

DOGGR’s regulations are still moving through the rule-making process.  The first public workshop was held in Los Angeles on February 19.  See DOGGR’s website for information on dates, time and locations for additional workshops in Bakersfield and Sacramento.

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