California issues proposed well stimulation requirements

California’s Department of Conservation issued proposals to regulate hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas well stimulation on Nov. 15, starting a 60-day public comment period on rules it hopes to finalize and have in place by Jan. 1, 2015.

The agency also said it will have emergency regulations in place by Jan. 1, 2014, so major requirements of SB 4, which the state’s senate and assembly passed and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law on Sept. 20, will be addressed in the meantime.

The proposals are the result of a dozen public meetings to both solicit ideas on what the regulations ought to include and to receive comments on an unofficial “discussion draft” of regulations; extensive research of other states’ regulations and of scientific studies; and input from other regulatory agencies, the environmental community, and the oil and gas industry, CDOC said.

It has scheduled five public hearings in Sacramento on Jan. 6, 2014; in Long Beach on Jan. 6; in Bakersfield on Jan. 8; in Salinas on Jan. 8; and in Santa Maria on Jan. 13.

CDOC’s Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources Division must certify an environmental analysis of SB 4 by July 1, 2015. Also, the Natural Resources Agency must commission an independent scientific study of well stimulation by Jan. 1, 2015; a timeline for the study is being developed, CDOC said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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