Hinson Gravelle & Adair LLP attorney Eric Adair was interviewed for and quoted in a December 7, 2012, Oilgram News story (subscription required). The story, which discussed California’s recently-introduced legislation on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is reprinted below. For more information regarding California’s proposed legislation, please see our analysis here.
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California bills to require drillers to report details of fracking fluids
New York (Platts)–7Dec2012/527 pm EST/2227 GMT
Oil and natural gas drillers in California would be required to report details of their hydraulic fracturing fluids, alert citizens of pending fracking, and document fracking along fault lines in the earthquake-prone state under legislation proposed at the start of the state’s assembly session this week.
Stakeholders — the energy industry, environmentalists and agricultural interests, the public, and lawmakers — have looked to the state’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources to issue regulations this year, but the agency has yet to do so.
“I’m not surprised to see legislation filed on the first day of the session in an effort to get DOGGR to issue regulations,” environmental lawyer Eric Adair said Friday.
Adair is a lawyer at Hinson Gravelle & Adair and has represented corporations, private landowners, government agencies, and water supply agencies.
A DOGGR spokesman did not respond to requests for information.
Democratic state senator Fran Pavley and Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski proposed nearly identical fracking legislation, with different timelines. Pavley’s bill would take effect January 1, 2015 and Wieckowski’s on January 1, 2014.
“I introduced legislation because the status quo is unacceptable. DOGGR has promised to release draft fracking regulations in the very near future and I will take those draft regulations into consideration once they are released,” Pavley said in an email Friday.
Pavley, who previously favored a statewide fracking ban, has since modified her position. “Last year, I supported legislation to ban fracking in California. However, I continue to be open to discussions on a compromise,” she said.
“The public release of DOGGR’s draft fracking regulations is apparently imminent. I have not seen them and do not know how comprehensive they are. Public comments from DOGGR suggest that the draft regulations may not be as rigorous as my bill. However, the devil is in the details when it comes to fracking, as we’ve seen throughout the country in other states’ and agencies’ laws and regulations addressing fracking,” Pavley said.
“Nationally, numerous interests including water providers and agriculture have raised serious concerns about fracking impacting their businesses while homeowners have seen their property values negatively impacted,” she said.
Pavley’s bill would require well operators to record and include fracking data, “including names and locations of all known seismic faults, as a part of the history of the drilling of the well.”
The bill would also require DOGGR to adopt regulations specific to well construction and well casings and full disclosure of the composition and disposition of fracking fluids.
Drillers would also have to file a notice of intention to frack and complete fracking within a year.
The bill would also require a supplier “claiming trade secret protection for the chemical composition of additives used in the hydraulic treatment to disclose the composition to DOGGR, but would, except as specified, prohibit those with access to the trade secret to disclose it, and a person who violates this prohibition would be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
Adair said DOGGR faces the complex task of “trying to satisfy all the multiple interests … They want to do the job right,” he said. Once issued, DOGGR’s regulations would then face a public comment and hearing, Adair said.
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