River Watch Header Image

California Senate rejects ‘fracking’ legislation

By Michael J. Mishak, Los Angeles Times, May 30, 2012

The California Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have
required energy firms to notify property owners before using hydraulic
fracturing to tap oil deposits on or near their land.

The legislation, SB 1054, was pushed by state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura
Hills) as the first step toward collecting information and increasing
awareness about a controversial extraction technique that state
regulators are only now beginning to tackle.

Currently, California does not require oil companies to disclose where
they use the procedure or what chemicals they inject into the ground.
Other states have imposed moratoriums and drawn up rules after toxic
chemicals were discovered in drinking water near “fracking” operations.

The Brown administration has undertaken a statewide listening tour to
gather public comment on fracking and has pledged to begin drafting
regulations later this year.

Under Pavley’s bill, oil companies would be required to give 30 days
notice to land owners whose property line or residence is within 300
feet of a fracking operation. The firms would also have to notify local
governments and water boards. The state’s oil and gas agency would then
post the information on its website.

“This is simply a ‘tell-your-neighbors’ type of policy,” Pavley said on
the Senate floor. “This is not a bill to ban, prohibit or regulate
hydraulic fracturing. It’s to provide transparency to the public.”

She added: “The public is asking themselves, maybe rightly so, what are
we trying to hide?”

Republicans characterized the bill as a job-killing regulation for an
industry that employs many Californians. “This bill is nothing more than
to slow down oil and gas production in California,” said state Sen. Jean
Fuller (R-Bakersfield).

The measure failed, 17 to 18, with several Democrats joining their
Republican colleagues in opposition. It was granted “reconsideration,”
meaning it could receive another hearing before Friday’s bill deadline.

Gregory S. Reisinger, Regulatory Analyst
California Public Utilities Commission

LA Time Blog Article