Stoel Rives’ Oil & Gas Team has been monitoring bills introduced by California legislators since the beginning of the 2017-2018 legislative session.  Below are the latest updates on the bills our team has been following during the first half of the current legislative session.  In addition, we have included new bills introduced during the second half of the current legislative session.

The following is a list of bills either vetoed by the Governor or chaptered into law at the end of the first half of the current legislative session.  A summary of such bills can be found here.

  • AB 1197 (Limón, D): Oil spill contingency plans: spill management teams. Chaptered into law on October 8, 2017.
  • AB 1328 (Limón, D): Oil and gas: water quality. Chaptered into law on October 13, 2017.
  • AB 1472 (Limón, D): Public lands: assignments and transfers; oil, gas and mineral leases. Vetoed by the Governor on July 25, 2017.
  • AB 1647 (Muratsuchi, D): Petroleum refineries: air monitoring systems. Chaptered into law on October 8, 2017.
  • SB 44 (Jackson, D): State lands: coastal hazard and legacy oil and gas well removal and remediation program. Chaptered into law on October 8, 2017.
  • SB 724 (Lara, D): Oil and gas: wells and production facilities. Chaptered into law on October 10, 2017.

Continue Reading Second Legislative Update: Oil & Gas Related Bills Introduced in the 2017-2018 Legislative Session

Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1132 (“AB 1132”) into law on August 7, 2017.  The bill, authored by Democratic Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, adds Section 42451.5 to the Health and Safety Code which authorizes air districts to issue interim orders for abatement pending an abatement hearing for non-vehicular sources of air pollution.  The South Coast Air Quality Management District sponsored the bill.

Existing law permits the governing boards and the hearing boards of California air districts to issue orders for abatement, after notice and an abatement hearing, whenever the air districts find a violation of any order, rule, or regulation prohibiting or limiting the discharge of air contaminants into the air.  Health & Safety Code § 42451.  AB 1132 goes one step further.  Effective on and after January 1, 2018, AB 1132 permits an air pollution control officer to issue an interim abatement order, without a hearing, if the officer finds there is an “imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or welfare, or the environment.”  Id. § 42451.5(a) (emphasis added).  It is not hard to imagine that most air pollution control officers will exercise this new power with zeal and impunity.Continue Reading How Due Process Will Wither and Die under California’s New Air Contaminant Law: AB 1132 Authorizes Air Districts to Shut Down Facilities Without a Hearing

California Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) has introduced an oil and gas bill to ensure that the state comes into compliance with the Class II underground injection (“UIC”) requirements under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA”).  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”), California is currently out of compliance with certain requirements for some Class II injection wells (oil and gas wastewater disposal wells) because fluid from these wells is being injected into non-exempt aquifers, which is prohibited.  Assembly Bill 356 (“AB 356”) was introduced on February 17, 2015 following publication of a letter from the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) to the USEPA addressing California’s Class II UIC program.

The bill authorizes the DOGGR Supervisor to require operators to implement a groundwater monitoring program for underground oil production tanks, facilities, and disposal and injection wells.  In addition, AB 356 would require operators to submit this monitoring plan, with a schedule for monitoring and reporting groundwater quality data, to the local regional water quality control board.  Data would then be submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board for inclusion in the geotracker database.  The purpose of the bill is to protect underground drinking water sources from potential  contamination arising from oil and gas operations.Continue Reading Proposed Assembly Bill 356 Would Require Additional Groundwater Monitoring by Oil & Gas Operators

The California Assemblymembers who sought a moratorium on all well stimulation activities early last year (vis-à-vis failed bills AB 1301, AB 1323, and AB 649) are seeking yet another moratorium, this time by amending SB 4, which went into effect on January 1, 2014 (and which we have extensively analyzed – see