No Free Pass For Fracking In California

David Pettit’s Blog – excerpt

We are (regrettably) used to seeing end-of-session hijinks in Sacramento when “gut and amend” bills and other special interest tricks get rolled out.  But today we’re seeing a new one:  an entire industry that wants a free pass to pollute by evading the protections of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

NRDC and many others support SB 4 (Pavley), which has many important provisions that would protect communities from fracking and other well stimulation methods like acidization (which is just what it sounds like – pumping acid into the ground to free up oil and gas for extraction). SB 4  just passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee  and will go to a floor vote probably next week; then it has to go back to the Senate for concurrence, and then on to the Governor for signature or veto. The current legislative session ends next Friday, 9/13.

One important provision of SB 4 is a requirement that oil and gas companies obtain a permit from the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) before engaging in fracking or acidization on new or existing wells.  Since these permits would be discretionary, they would be subject to CEQA just like any other big, potentially polluting project.  For an overview on the fracking issue, you can read my colleague Damon Nagami’s Switchboard post here.




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