California Considers New Fracking Regulation, New York Lawmakers Try to Head Off Expiring Fracking BanJun 7, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP
Oil drillers in California have for years used hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, with very little oversight, according to a new Associated Press report. But now, people in the state are taking notice, and California legislators are considering a new law that would impose some of the strictest fracking regulations in the nation.
It seems the California Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources or DOGGR has done little to regulate fracking, partly due to budget constraints. The agency can't even say where or how frequently fracking is performed in California. According to the Associated Press, once an energy company has a well permit, it's free to use fracking or any other technique to access the oil without further reporting in the state.
It's known that fracking is taking place in Santa Barbara , Monterey, Kern, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, but there's no way of knowing if drillers are using it anywhere else. According to the Associated Press, people living in Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles County, have claimed that fracking there has caused health problems, as well as property damage.
The new California legislation, if it becomes law, would not only regulate fracking, but make companies disclose the chemicals they use in their fracking fluid, the amount of water they're pumping and where they are fracking. The bill has already passed the state Assembly, and has been introduced in a Senate committee.
Meanwhile, the New York State Assembly has passed a bill that would extend a fracking moratorium there for at least another year. The new moratorium bill, which passed the Assembly 91-46, would cover fracking for oil as well as gas, and would cover vertical drilling using hydraulic fracturing at until July 1, 2012.
A current moratorium on high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing in New York State is scheduled to expire on July 1. The new moratorium bill still needs to make it through the state Senate, where a narrow Republican majority makes its fate uncertain.