Gov. Brown Assembles Fracking Review Panel

Stoel Rives LLP

According to several news organizations, Governor Brown has announced plans to form a new panel to review the recent well stimulation study conducted by the California Council on Science and Technology (“CCST”).

The study found that while there is little evidence that hydraulic fracturing is directly linked to widespread negative health and environmental impacts, additional data and record-keeping may be necessary.

The new panel will be composed of individuals from nine different state agencies.  The individuals have yet to be announced.

The announcement comes shortly after a flurry lawsuits attempting to curb oil and gas production throughout the state.  In one case, the plaintiff claims that the state’s well stimulation regulations are discriminatory against minorities.  Another case seeks to impede the opening of federal land in California to oil and gas development.  In yet another case, the plaintiffs seek an immediate halt to oil and gas wastewater injection.

The increased scrutiny comes despite repeated assurance from the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources that there has been “no contamination of water used for drinking or agricultural purposes related to underground injection by the oil and gas industry” and “no evidence has been found that underground injection has damaged sources of potential drinking water.”

Furthermore, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, found that hydraulic fracturing posed no “widespread, systemic” threat to drinking water.

California is the third largest oil producing state in the nation.  The CCST study found that oil produced in California using hydraulic fracturing emits less greenhouse gas per barrel than the average barrel imported to California.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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