Oil-well operators struggling with new fracking regulations, lawmakers told

FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2013, file photo, oil pumps operate near Lost Hills, Calif.  A bill by Sen. Fran Pavely, D-Agoura Hills, which would regulate an oil and gas drilling technique known as 'fracking,' is among the more than 800 laws approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that takes effect Jan. 1. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2013, file photo, oil pumps operate near Lost Hills, Calif. A bill by Sen. Fran Pavely, D-Agoura Hills, which would regulate an oil and gas drilling technique known as "fracking," is among the more than 800 laws approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that takes effect Jan. 1. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO — A panel of top state regulators told lawmakers on Wednesday that they have moved quickly to implement California’s first-ever regulations governing hydraulic fracturing, but well operators are having difficulties complying with the new requirements.

Permanent regulations required by a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last fall are now being promulgated and will not take effect until next year.

But the Department of Conservation has imposed emergency regulations this year that establish basic reporting requirements and also require well operators to either monitor effects on groundwater or certify that there is no protected groundwater in the vicinity of their wells.

Thomas Howard, executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board, told senators at a joint committee hearing that, to date, well operators have not sufficiently complied.

Eight requests covering 141 wells have been submitted to the Water Board, and all have claimed an exemption for the monitoring requirement. Based on the information provided, the board has not been able to affirm a single such claim.

“My staff has been unable, with the information submitted, to definitely say the conditions that would require monitoring don’t exist,” Howard said.

Of the well-certification notices submitted so far, three have come from Ventura County and the remainder from Kern County.

The certifications submitted thus far consist of “more assertions than evidence,” he said. “There has got to be sufficient evidence for us to make a finding.”

He said the requests have not been rejected, but rather deemed incomplete. Howard noted his staff is communicating with well operators.

“It’s only been in effect a few weeks,” he said. “It’s difficult for them to know what would be acceptable to us.”

He added that it is likely some operators will be required to drill monitoring wells rather than relying on records from existing wells.

Jason Marshall, chief deputy director of the Department of Conservation, testified that oil drillers are still trying to adapt to the regulation of an activity they’ve been doing for decades.

“This is a new world. These people are trying to figure out how they’re going to live in this world,” he said. “But it’s here.”

Once the permanent regulations are in place next year, Marshall said, the self-certification process will end and well operators will be required to go through a permit process that will require on-the-ground inspections by state regulators.

Marshall, Howard and regulators from the Air Resources Control Board and the Department of Toxic Substances Control testified before a joint hearing of the Senate committees on Environmental Quality and Natural Resources and Water.

The hearing on implementation of the new law comes as some lawmakers continue to push for a moratorium on the controversial oil-drilling practice. Democratic Sens. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles and Mark Leno of San Francisco have introduced a bill calling for a moratorium. A similar proposal failed last year, and the only fracking legislation to survive was the regulatory measure authored by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills.

Pavley, who co-chaired Wednesday’s hearing, praised regulators for working quickly and cooperatively to implement the law. “There is a lot more transparency in the process,” she said. “We’re finding out a lot more today than we knew a year ago.”

The law also requires that an independent scientific study on fracking-related issues such as seismic safety be completed by the end of this year. Lawmakers were told that the Brown administration has selected UC Davis chemical engineering professor Robert Powell to head the study panel and that a contract to conduct the study is expected to be executed soon.

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Comments » 23

artsurfer writes:

our oil industry in California is providing jobs for blue collar workers that make easily in the 6 figures. do a google search, and apply for a job. it is paying more than jobs for those that have a college degree.

RIGHTisRIGHT writes:

Adage killing the golden goose sure applies. Liberals love taxes and regulation on business. Liberal looney's even want to tax oil as it leaves the well head.
Now more regulations to further hamper oil production driving up the cost of gas at the pump.
It seems the liberal feel their very existence is to impede businesses profitability and production.

RIGHTisRIGHT writes:

Here is the part the liberals love "Marshall said, the self-certification process will end and well operators will be required to go through a permit process that will require on-the-ground inspections by state regulators"

" will require on-the-ground inspections by state regulators " ?
More state cushy 6 figure income jobs with great benefits no doubt.

michaelait#793630 writes:

California always does it backwards. Caliasskwards

FactsMatter writes:

Fracking requires lots of water. Too bad it cannot just be diverted out of conservatives heads.

poncho writes:

Yeah! How dare we stand in the way of Big Oil. They'll look out for the environment, they don't need to be monitored. Shucks, they barely skimp by on their meagre profits. WHY CAN'T WE LEAVE THEM ALONE. Darn libs... RIGHT?

FactsMatter writes:

in response to RIGHTisRIGHT:

Adage killing the golden goose sure applies. Liberals love taxes and regulation on business. Liberal looney's even want to tax oil as it leaves the well head.
Now more regulations to further hamper oil production driving up the cost of gas at the pump.
It seems the liberal feel their very existence is to impede businesses profitability and production.

Intelligent people realize in every conservative state oil is taxed.

RIGHTisRIGHT writes:

in response to FactsMatter:

Intelligent people realize in every conservative state oil is taxed.

Intelligent people realize California has the highest corporate income tax in the Western United States.
"California oil is taxed whether or not it’s produced. As the oil is produced, refined and sold, companies are subject to a host of other taxes that generate an estimated $6 billion in revenue for state and local governments.

On top of that, oil companies that produce oil from state lands pay royalties in addition to taxes. In 2012, royalty payments to Sacramento exceeded $500 million. Moreover, oil companies pay billions to private individuals who own mineral rights, which also generates taxes."

Obviously Intelligent people,which excludes liberals , realize these burdens on oil producers that other states do not apply.

Stuck on stupid is the liberal MO.

HearMeOut-Thanks writes:

The story should start out: "A bevy of environmental, anti-oil job killing liberal communist Democrats wackos told lawmakers on Wednesday that they have moved quickly to screw California’s oil industry, by concocting first-ever regulations governing hydraulic fracturing. The well operators are having difficulties complying with the new requirements because, the liberal Democrats communists anti-oil types hate oil, and want to ruin a legal private sector industry. Oil haters will try anything to stop oil production, but they won't give up their car keys.

HearMeOut-Thanks writes:

in response to poncho:

Yeah! How dare we stand in the way of Big Oil. They'll look out for the environment, they don't need to be monitored. Shucks, they barely skimp by on their meagre profits. WHY CAN'T WE LEAVE THEM ALONE. Darn libs... RIGHT?

TURN IN YOUR CAR KEYS!

RIGHTisRIGHT writes:

in response to FactsMatter:

Fracking requires lots of water. Too bad it cannot just be diverted out of conservatives heads.

At least conservative have something useful in their head. All they would divert from a liberal head is dirty foul air.

cassandra9 writes:

Hopefully they will find sensible regulation so frustrating that this polluting industry will leave my state. Especially my neighborhood.

I note that Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson sued to block fracking near his mega ranch in Texas. The polluters don't mind being NIMBYs when their home is threatened. But the ordinary victims of fracking in Texas, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, they have nowhere to turn because the government often is in collusion with Big Oil.

cassandra9 writes:

The irony is that this flurry of fracking will be short-lived and leave behind a mess that we will not have funds to clean up.

The boom has brought in many shallow pocket operators who likely won't be around when victims sue for damages and who are unlikely to find best practices cost effective.

cassandra9 writes:

To the drill heads here, those who are willing to trade our environment for a short term profit, consider--

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2014/02/25/...

HRpufenstuf writes:

Turn in Car keys? - I use Frack Free OIL

poncho writes:

in response to HearMeOut-Thanks:

TURN IN YOUR CAR KEYS!

I don't have to, I pay well over the national average for gas, and have for years. You let me know when the oil companies go belly up.
The oil companies are going to frack, and California will attempt to oversee - that's just the way it works.

dreckerson writes:

Here we go again! The government in Sacramento killing of businesses in California to appease the liberal left. There has to be some sort of compromise with the need for jobs and a decent quality of life. You can't just do everything that feels good without looking at the long term effects. I have lost so many clients in my business that I am changing careers. And after 28 years and 55 years old, it's not what I planned on. When I was 40 I thought about leaving this state...guess I should have. millions of people will not retire here because it will cost them too much. Way to go Sacramento. The solution? VOTE THEM ALL(ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ISLE)OUT AND START OVER.

OnTheOutside writes:

Struggling with new fracking regulations? Boo hoo!! Get over it and become responsible to those who put money in your pocket. Funny idea the possibility of poisoning the same people you want to buy your product. Geeze.

HRpufenstuf writes:

in response to dreckerson:

Here we go again! The government in Sacramento killing of businesses in California to appease the liberal left. There has to be some sort of compromise with the need for jobs and a decent quality of life. You can't just do everything that feels good without looking at the long term effects. I have lost so many clients in my business that I am changing careers. And after 28 years and 55 years old, it's not what I planned on. When I was 40 I thought about leaving this state...guess I should have. millions of people will not retire here because it will cost them too much. Way to go Sacramento. The solution? VOTE THEM ALL(ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ISLE)OUT AND START OVER.

Please tell me - What career field are you leaving? As a Mid 50's Business owner as well, I have learned to change at a much faster pace.
The Young (under 30) consumers of anything, Do things much differently. - I suggest taking a different look at your business, And change

johnm.lau#258056 writes:

in response to RIGHTisRIGHT:

Adage killing the golden goose sure applies. Liberals love taxes and regulation on business. Liberal looney's even want to tax oil as it leaves the well head.
Now more regulations to further hamper oil production driving up the cost of gas at the pump.
It seems the liberal feel their very existence is to impede businesses profitability and production.

This is a shout out to all the pro-business, anti-regulation, anti-environment, anti-liberal, California hating conservatives please click on your computers and do a search of the latest stories regarding Chevron. You will find a story that was reported on Feb. 16th of a Chevron well that was fracking for oil that exploded in a small rural town in Bobtown, Pens. It was feared that at less one employee was killed and that the shock waves were felt as far away as one half mile. Instead of apologizing and announcing a full and impartial investigation on the causes of the explosion their immediate response was to provide free beer and pizza to the residents! You can not make stuff like this up! It boogles the mind of any rational human being. Is it possible that the number one rated television network that pledges fair and balanced reporting, the Fox News network, hid this story from its viewers due to its pro business conservative agenda? Not every liberal is anti business or approves every tax hike that is proposed. I'm interested in providing a good balance between social and business issues. A common expression that has been with us for decades is still very relevant and current. " You can't fool mother nature."

RIGHTisRIGHT writes:

in response to johnm.lau#258056:

This is a shout out to all the pro-business, anti-regulation, anti-environment, anti-liberal, California hating conservatives please click on your computers and do a search of the latest stories regarding Chevron. You will find a story that was reported on Feb. 16th of a Chevron well that was fracking for oil that exploded in a small rural town in Bobtown, Pens. It was feared that at less one employee was killed and that the shock waves were felt as far away as one half mile. Instead of apologizing and announcing a full and impartial investigation on the causes of the explosion their immediate response was to provide free beer and pizza to the residents! You can not make stuff like this up! It boogles the mind of any rational human being. Is it possible that the number one rated television network that pledges fair and balanced reporting, the Fox News network, hid this story from its viewers due to its pro business conservative agenda? Not every liberal is anti business or approves every tax hike that is proposed. I'm interested in providing a good balance between social and business issues. A common expression that has been with us for decades is still very relevant and current. " You can't fool mother nature."

"Chevron well that was fracking for oil that exploded in a small rural town in Bobtown, Pens"

Reporting agency said the explosion hanppened on the surface and not in the well it's self.

'Federal study finds fracking chemicals didn't spread
A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water, geologist Richard Hammack said.Although the results are preliminary -- the study is still ongoing -- they are a boost to a natural gas industry that has fought complaints from environmental groups and property owners who call fracking dangerous.Drilling fluids tagged with unique markers were injected more than 8,000 feet below the surface, but were not detected in a monitoring zone 3,000 feet higher. That means the potentially dangerous substances stayed about a mile away from drinking water supplies"

johnm.lau#258056 writes:

in response to RIGHTisRIGHT:

"Chevron well that was fracking for oil that exploded in a small rural town in Bobtown, Pens"

Reporting agency said the explosion hanppened on the surface and not in the well it's self.

'Federal study finds fracking chemicals didn't spread
A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water, geologist Richard Hammack said.Although the results are preliminary -- the study is still ongoing -- they are a boost to a natural gas industry that has fought complaints from environmental groups and property owners who call fracking dangerous.Drilling fluids tagged with unique markers were injected more than 8,000 feet below the surface, but were not detected in a monitoring zone 3,000 feet higher. That means the potentially dangerous substances stayed about a mile away from drinking water supplies"

I didn't say that fracking was the actual cause of the well explosion. I did state that particular Chevron well exploded in a small rural town of Bobtown, Penns. Is there something factually wrong with that statement?

Mina writes:

in response to artsurfer:

our oil industry in California is providing jobs for blue collar workers that make easily in the 6 figures. do a google search, and apply for a job. it is paying more than jobs for those that have a college degree.

You may want to read this first and ask yourself why this "blue collar" job makes "easily" six figures.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/...

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