Today, the California Department of Conservation (DOC) and its Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) released the text of proposed regulations (pdf) that will govern the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state. The release of the proposed regulations formally commences the rulemaking process (see our post here), and was accompanied by a notice of proposed rulemaking action (pdf).
The proposed regulations expand on the “discussion draft” regulations released in December 2012. (See our post here.) The regulations follow California’s recent enactment of SB 4, which provides a comprehensive regulatory framework for well stimulation and extends beyond the parameters of last December’s discussion draft. Among other things, SB 4 requires that DOGGR address not merely fracking, but also acid fracturing and acid matrix stimulation. SB 4 also creates a permitting scheme for well stimulation activities, requires the preparation of an environmental impact report, and mandates the completion of an independent scientific study on well stimulation treatment.
The notice of proposed rulemaking states that the proposed regulations “are intended to supplement the Division’s current oil and gas regulatory framework with regulations specific to well stimulation treatment to meet the mandates of SB 4. . . . The proposed regulations satisfy the goals and requirements of SB 4 by implementing express statutory requirements regarding well stimulation permits, public disclosure, neighbor notification, and water well testing.” The notice summarizes the objectives of the proposed regulations as follows:
We will review the proposed regulations in greater detail and provide a thorough analysis shortly.
Today’s announcement opens the period for public comment. Comments may be submitted by email to DOGGRRegulations [at] conservation.ca.gov, by facsimile to 916-324-0948, or by mail to Department of Conservation, 801 K Street, MS 24-02, Sacramento, CA 95814, ATTN: Well Stimulation Regulations. The written comment period closes at 5:00 p.m. on January 14, 2014.
DOC and DOGGR also announced a series of public meetings to allow further comments on the proposed regulations, as follows: