February 12, 2013 (San Diego)--The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources on December 18, 2012 released a “discussion draft” of regulations for the oil and natural gas production technique known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).
The draft, if approved, would require oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals injected for fracking and the location of wells, which are currently kept secret from the public. Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens; concerns have also been raised over contamination of drinking water supplies.
Several hearings will be held around the state, but none will be in San Diego. The Los Angeles meeting on February 19th is the closest to our region.
What does “discussion draft” mean? It means that this version does not begin the formal rulemaking process. Instead, it is a starting point for discussion by key stakeholders – industry, the environmental community, other regulators, and interested members of the public – in preparation for the more formal process. These “discussion draft” regulations include provisions for pre-fracturing well testing, advance notification, monitoring during and after fracturing operations, disclosure of materials used in fracturing fluid, trade secrets, and storage and handling of hydraulic fracturing fluids.
The Department will conduct the first of several stakeholder workshops to receive input on the “discussion draft” regulations on February 19 in Los Angeles. The meeting will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the downtown Doubletree Hotel, 120 South Los Angeles Street. Workshops will also be held in Bakersfield and Sacramento, with dates, times and locations to be announced soon.
The actual “discussion draft regulations” and other material can be found on the Department’s home page, http://www.conservation.ca.gov/Index/Pages/Index.aspx.