California recently circulated its third version of S.B. 4., a bill passed last year that sets forth rules regarding well stimulation operations. The California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources received over 100,000 comments from the public regarding the first version of S.B. 4. The second version of the bill also received a significant number of comments.
The third version of the bill features several changes from the previous versions. For example, the threshold for reporting seismic activity occurring near wells has been increased to require a magnitude of at least 2.7. In addition, whereas well operators initially had to apply for a water permit before applying for a fracking permit, operators may now apply for both permits simultaneously. The twenty-day deadline for requesting water quality testing has also been amended to permit residents to request testing irrespective of whether twenty days have passed since the resident received notification that well stimulation would occur. If the twenty-day period has passed, however, the resident would be responsible for paying for the testing.
Multiple groups have expressed displeasure with the bill. Some environmentalist groups have argued that the state should not permit fracking. Even members of the oil and gas industry have noted that aspects of the bill are problematic. The public has fifteen days to submit any comments on the bill.
Read S.B. 4.