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California Now Toughest on Fracking

by Elizabeth Alford on July 9, 2015

California now has some of the toughest fracking guidelines in the nation.

After a 2 year grace period, California lawmakers implemented SB-4 last week. The landmark legislation, authored by State Senator, Fran Pavley was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2013.

Related: New York Prohibits Fracking

The new regulations force expanded monitoring and reporting of air and water quality and place a high priority on increasing transparency and accountability to the public regarding well stimulation treatments.

SB-4 states declares that there is “insufficient information available to fully assess the science of the practice of hydraulic fracturing and (…) protecting the state’s groundwater is of paramount concern. strategic, scientifically based groundwater monitoring of the state’s oil and gas fields is critical to allaying the public’s concerns.” The bill goes on to say that “strategic, scientifically based groundwater monitoring of the state’s oil and gas fields is critical to allaying the public’s concerns.”

Related: EPA Finds Little Risk to Drinking Water from Fracking

Highlights of SB-4

  • Requires that well operators obtain a permit for well stimulation

  • Requires at least 30 days advance notice to the public, neighbors (including tenants) and the regional water quality control board of the intent to frack or stimulate a well.

  • Allows the neighbors to have baseline and followup water quality testing

  • Provides for regional groundwater monitoring in the vicinity of oil and gas fields

  • Allows for health professionals, public health professionals and other regulators to obtain trade secret information

  • Requires spot checks to ensure fracking, acidization and other well stimulation data provided are accurate

  • Increases the civil fine provision to at least $10,000 and up to $25,000 per day per violation.

Read the entire law at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

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