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Gov. Brown Wants California to Consider Hydraulic Fracturing

At a renewable energy conference in San Francisco on March 13, 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown offered a qualified endorsement of hydraulic fracturing. Gov. Brown stated that “the fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible. The potential is extraordinary, but between now and development lies a lot of questions [concerning hydraulic fracturing’s effects on air and water quality] that need to be answered.” He advised that any decisions on fracking would be based on science, common sense and on a deliberative process that “listens to the people but also wants to take advantage of the great opportunities” in the state.

While … Continue Reading

New California Lawsuit Claims Recently Issued Drilling Permits Do Not Comply with State Environmental Regulations

Recently, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), complaining that the DOGGR has issued permits for hydraulic fracturing that violate its Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program and “its statutory mandate to assure that hydraulic fracturing does not cause damage to life, health, property, natural resources, and underground or surface waters.”

The Center seeks an injunction preventing the DOGGR from issuing permits for oil and gas well operations “without tracking, monitoring, or otherwise supervising the high-risk, unconventional underground injection practice of hydraulic fracturing . . . ”

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The Balancing Act Between Disclosure and Confidentiality Under California’s Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

In July 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration prepared a report detailing the estimated amounts of readily recoverable oil and gas within all the shale deposits in the United States. See Review of Emerging Resources: U.S. Shale Gas and Shale Oil PlaysU.S. Energy Information Administration, July 2011.

Their report estimates that the Monterey shale formation, consisting of an active area of 1,752 square miles in the San Joaquin and Los Angeles basins in California, contains 15.4 billion barrels of oil that can be recovered using existing technologies. To put it in perspective, those 15.4 billion barrels:

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Fracking Bills Fail in California Legislature

Since February 2011, the California legislature has been considering two bills that would regulate hydraulic fracturing operations throughout the state.

AB 591 would require operators to disclose fracking activities and the contents of all fracking fluids, subject to exemptions for proprietary and/or trade secret information.

AB 972 would impose a moratorium on all fracking operations in the state pending adoption of regulations being developed by the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources.

This week both bills failed to make it out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, effectively killing both bills for the current legislative session, … Continue Reading