Senate Bill (SB) 1132, sponsored by Sens. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and last amended May 6, 2014, was put into the “Suspense File” (a holding place for bills that require appropriations over a specific dollar amount) on May 19, 2014 following a hearing in the California Senate Appropriations Committee. On May 22, 2014, more than 100 environmental and community groups sent a letter to the California Legislature urging lawmakers to support a moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing in California.
The Committee voted 4-2 on May 23, 2014 to approve SB 1132. The bill now moves to the Senate floor for a vote.
Existing law requires the California Natural Resources Agency to facilitate an “independent scientific study” on well stimulation treatments (fracking and acidizing) and their hazards and risks to natural resources and public, occupational, and environmental health and safety by January 1, 2015.
SB 1132 would add additional requirements to the study revise, expand the definition of “well stimulation treatment” and extend the date to complete the “independent scientific study.”
Under SB 1132:
1) The scope of scientific studies to be conducted by the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), in consultation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the California Air Resources Board, the State Water Resources Control Board, CalRecycle, and Regional Water Quality Control Boards would be expanded to include the evaluation of the potential risks to human health and welfare, natural resources and the economic impacts of well stimulation techniques, both on and off-shore, and would have be completed no later than June 30, 2016;
2) The DOGGR would be required to finalize the regulations, which will govern well stimulation techniques and treatments by June 30, 2015; and
3) The DOGGR must complete a statewide Environmental Impact Report by June 30, 2015.
Oil and gas operators will be able to continue to implement well stimulation practices while DOGGR completes its regulations, providing that the well owner complies with all interim requirements of the legislation.