Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and other supporters of SB 1132 cleared their first major hurdle in their renewed effort to place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and other forms of well stimulation treatment in the state of California.

On April 8, the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee voted to move the measure along, achieving the minimum of five votes to advance a bill.  Some more moderate Democrats abstained from the bill, hoping to give Senator Fran Pavley’s SB 4 a chance to work before more extreme measures, such as a moratorium, are taken.

As discussed in our February 24, 2014 post, despite SB 4’s clear language allowing well stimulation to occur under a permit program, the sponsors are moving forward with a proposed indefinite ban on well stimulation until the completion of the independent scientific study, currently due January 1, 2015.  In addition to that deadline, in order to allow operators to conduct well stimulation treatments after the completion of the scientific study, that study would need to conclude that there are no risks to the public health or welfare from well stimulation practices.