On Monday, August 13, California’s Senate Appropriations Committee will conduct a further hearing on AB 972, a bill that would create a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” pending adoption of regulations by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and its Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOG).
As we previously reported here on the blog, Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, who represents California’s 53rd District (encompassing several of Southern California’s beach cities), introduced AB 972 in June 2012. The legislation would amend California’s Public Resources Code by, among other things, adding new section 3203.5. That section would prevent the DOG from approving or issuing a permit authorizing the drilling of a well if fracking is used or proposed to be used until regulations governing fracking have been adopted. The DOC and DOG are currently in the process of developing such regulations, having recently completed a series of public workshops around the state to gather public input before beginning the rulemaking process.
The August 13 hearing was originally scheduled for August 6 but continued at Assemblywoman Butler’s request due to a scheduling conflict. The hearing is set to begin at 11:00 a.m. in the John L. Burton Hearing Room, Room 4203, located at the State Capitol building in Sacramento. The meeting agenda is available here. Audio of the hearing will be broadcast over the internet (link opens audio player).
AB 972 has already survived two votes in the legislature. On June 26, the Natural Resources and Water Committee (NRWC) passed the bill on a 5-3 vote and referred it to the Committee on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The CEQ then passed the bill on July 2 on a 5-2 vote, referring it to the Appropriations Committee.