Two new bills have been introduced in California to regulate the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in the state.
The first bill, Senate Bill 395 (pdf), was introduced on February 20, 2013, by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat representing Senate District 19. The bill would add two sections to California’s Health and Safety Code and would require that all “produced water” — defined in the bill as “any water brought up from the hydrocarbon bearing formation strata during the extraction of oil and gas, including hydraulic fracturing operations” — must be regulated as a hazardous waste under the jurisdiction of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).
The second bill, Assembly Bill 982 (pdf), was introduced on February 22, 2013, by Assembly Member Das Williams of the 37th District, and was co-authored by Senator Lois Wolk of the 3rd Senate District. Both are Democrats. The bill would (a) provide a definition of fracking, (b) require the development of a groundwater monitoring plan whenever fracking will be implemented, with monitoring data to be submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) GeoTracker database, and (c) require the disclosure of the estimated quantity of water to be used in fracking, the source of that water, and a plan for disposal of wastewater produced in the fracking process.
In a joint press release announcing the legislation, Senator Jackson explained:
Given the potential threat to our drinking water supplies, our public health, and our environment, we need to make sure there is proper oversight of the potentially toxic chemical brew that’s produced from fracking.
Assembly Member Williams added:
The oil and gas industry wants to greatly expand its presence in California, in my district and others. We need to make sure their operations don’t compromise our critical groundwater supplies.
The two bills add to California’s ongoing legislative effort to regulate fracking. As we previously reported, the first day of the current legislative session saw the introduction of two fracking bills, Senate Bill 4 (Pavley) (pdf) and Assembly Bill 7 (Wieckowski) (pdf). Meanwhile, the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) recently released its “discussion draft” of fracking regulations (pdf), which we analyzed here.