The California Geologic Energy Management Division (“CalGEM”), formerly known as the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”), is actively working on revising its regulations to better align its regulatory mandates with the new goals of Assembly Bill 1057, which requires CalGEM to focus on protecting public health and the environment, and less on efficient and effective oil and gas production. The scope and extent of these regulatory changes may have far-reaching consequences for the oil and gas industry in California. As part of its pre-rulemaking process, CalGEM is hosting community workshops and accepting public comments regarding its proposed regulatory changes.
I. WHY IS CALGEM HOSTING WORKSHOPS?
While CalGEM’s materials on its pre-rulemaking process do not explain the exact nature or effect of these workshops, CalGEM’s workshops align with its new focus and November 2019 announcement of new oil and gas initiatives. Effective January 1, 2020, Assembly Bill 1057 changed DOGGR’s name to CalGEM and updated CalGEM’s focus from development and production of petroleum resources to transitioning to a low-carbon future and protecting public health, safety and the environment. In addition, last November CalGEM released a series of initiatives targeting certain oil and gas extraction methods, intended to safeguard public health and the environment. The November initiatives include:
- Imposing a moratorium on new oil extraction wells that use high-pressure steam to break oil formations below the ground;
- Announcing new rules for public health and safety protections near oil and gas extraction facilities would be updated and strengthened; and
- Completing an independent audit of CalGEM’s permitting processes for well stimulation and underground injection control and a scientific review of pending well stimulation permits to ensure public health, safety and environmental protections are met prior to approving each permit.
These initiatives are in line with the State of California’s overall climate goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045. California intends to meet this goal, in part, by decreasing fossil fuel dependence and consumption.
II. WHO WILL CALGEM’S NEW REGULATIONS AFFECT?
CalGEM’s new regulations may permanently change the oil and gas landscape of California, particularly with regards to cyclic steaming, well stimulation, and underground injection control. Those with comments or concerns about these changes are encouraged to attend one of CalGEM’s upcoming in-person meetings or provide written comments. CalGEM will use the comments it receives in the next two months to inform its formal rulemaking proceeding.
III. WHERE AND WHEN CAN I PARTICIPATE?
Community members may share their thoughts and concerns regarding CalGEM’s new regulations at CalGEM’s scheduled public workshops. Comments can be provided in many forms, including written comments, oral comments, anonymous text submissions, writing down issues of concern on posters hung up on the wall of the meeting room, or by sending an email to CalGEMRegulations@conservation.ca.gov. CalGEM’s early input community meetings will not be recorded.
CalGEM is hosting the following ten workshops throughout California over the next two months:
Arvin | Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Arvin Veterans Hall, 477 4th Avenue, Arvin, CA 93203
(Community meeting will be led in Spanish, with headsets available for participants who are not bilingual)
Bakersfield | Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Four Points by Sheraton, 5101 California Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93309
Santa Maria | Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Veteran’s Memorial Center, 313 W. Tunnell Street, Santa Maria, CA 93458
Oakland | Monday, March 9, 2020, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Greenling Institute, 360 14th St, Oakland, CA 94612
(Option to join by webinar.)
Coalinga | Monday, March 16, 2020, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Harris Ranch, 24505 W. Dorris Ave, Coalinga, CA 93210
Oxnard | Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Pacifica High School Cafeteria, 600 E. Gonzales Rd, Oxnard, CA 93036
South Los Angeles | Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Holman Community Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018
Montebello | Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Montebello Senior Center, 115 S. Taylor Ave, Montebello, CA 90640
Long Beach | Thursday, April 2, 2020, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Recreation Park, 4900 E. 7th Street, Long Beach
Sacramento | To be scheduled
Please check the CalGEM public health rulemaking webpage for updates
Spanish language interpreters will attend every community meeting and Spanish handouts will be available. Requests for translation and interpretation services for languages other than Spanish may be made up to ten days before the community meeting by contacting Sarah Rubin at Sarah.Rubin@conservation.ca.gov or at (916) 322-7323. Disability accommodations may be discussed with Tim Shular at Tim.Shular@conservation.ca.gov or at (916) 322-3080.
IV. IF I CANNOT ATTEND A WORKSHOP, HOW ELSE CAN I PARTICIPATE?
Those unable to attend in-person may submit written comments through April 10, 2020. Written submissions may be provided by email at CalGEMRegulation@conservation.ca.gov or by mail at:
Department of Conservation
801 K Street, MS 24-02
Sacramento, CA 95814
ATTN: Public Health Near Oil Gas Rulemaking
V. WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?
For more information, visit CalGEM’s website at https://www.conservation.ca.gov/publichealth. You can also contact Michael Mills and Lauren Neuhaus of Stoel Rives if you have any questions or specific concerns regarding how these proceedings may affect you or your business.