Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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California releases draft rules for fracking

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From page A2 | November 17, 2013 | 3 Comments

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Oil companies would have to test groundwater and notify landowners before they do fracking or other well stimulation techniques under draft rules released by the state.

The proposed regulations, considered by state officials to be the most stringent in the country, were announced on Friday in response to a law that Gov. Jerry Brown signed in September.

Companies would also be required to disclose the chemicals used and acquire permits before they start hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The rules go into effect in 2015, but there will be emergency regulations that companies would have to comply with beginning in January.

Fracking involves pumping huge amounts of water, sand and chemicals into deep rock formations to release oil or natural gas. Other well stimulation techniques use acid to break apart oil-rich formations. While the state oversees oil wells, there have not been specific rules for fracking, which has been going on for decades in California.

Some environmentalists contend the proposed rules don’t go far enough and want a fracking ban until regulators can study whether there are risks to public health.

“We want a timeout,” said Kathryn Phillips, state director of the Sierra Club told the Los Angeles Times in Saturday’s editions.

“At best, these regulations can be described as a mixed bag,” she said. “At worst, they provide another example of an agency’s continued deference to a regulated entity, even at the expense of public health and the environment.”

Other environmentalists said some oversight is better than none.

“There are some good provisions from our very preliminary review,” Bill Allayaud of the Environmental Working Group told the newspaper.

Fracking supporters said the rules provide a framework to explore the Monterey Shale, vast formation that extends from California’s Central Valley farmlands to offshore and could ultimately comprise two-thirds of the nation’s shale oil reserves.

“These regulations are extensive but strike the right balance,” Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, told the Times.

Under the draft rules, state environmental officials will team with air quality regulators and regional water boards to track potential problems after a job. Wells would also be monitored before and after fracking and some of the chemicals used to stimulate wells would be posted online.

State officials will hold a 60-day public comment period with hearings scheduled in several cities around the same.

The Associated Press

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Discussion | 3 comments

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  • Luke AsburyNovember 16, 2013 - 9:03 pm

    NO fracking! The destruction is NOT worth it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JohnNovember 17, 2013 - 6:59 am

    A quick buck is not worth the long term damage. No more fracking!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich RifkinNovember 18, 2013 - 4:00 pm

    If it is well regulated, there is no more reason to think that fracking--which, in fact, we already have in small amounts in California--will cause more environmental havoc than traditional oil drilling--which, in fact, we already have in great amounts in California. It's misguided to write off fracking simply because it may have caused environmental problems elsewhere in an unregulated situation--unless you are also suggesting we ought to close down all oil drilling in our state. The potential benefits to our state's coffers--which pay for our K-14 schools, the Cal State system, the UC and much more--from fracking are tremendous, because the deposits here are larger than anywhere else in the U.S. Also, because fracking has helped to produce so much new natural gas, poor and low-income Americans have thus far been the greatest beneficiaries of this development. It has dramatically cut their utility bills down. Now, I realize that if a person is an environmental Puritan, the interests of people with less money is of no concern in your anti-fracking calculus.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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