On February 12, 2018, the California Department of Conservation (“DOC”) issued a public notice announcing revisions to the text of the proposed regulations in the rulemaking for California Underground Gas Storage Projects. This rulemaking follows a saga of rulemakings for underground gas storage projects in the state – both emergency and general rulemakings – which all began in early 2016. The rulemakings were spurred by the underground gas storage leak at the Aliso Canyon facility in southern California, which was discovered on October 23, 2015 and continued leaking until February 2016.
The First Revised Text of Proposed Regulations (“Revised Rules”) generally contains minor revisions from the initial proposed regulations, except for the section regulating Risk Management Plans, Public Resources Code sec 1726.3. The Risk Management Plans section contains significant revisions, including the requirement that
operators of underground gas storage projects “in existence at the time that this section goes into effect, . . . shall submit a Risk Management Plan in accordance with the requirements of this section within six months of the effective date of this section. If the Division identifies any deficiencies in the Risk Management Plan, then the Division will consult with the operator and identify an appropriate timeframe for correcting the deficiency.”
Pub. Res. Code § 1726.3(a) (proposed).
In addition to the modified text of the proposed regulations, the DOC published two documents that have been added to the rulemaking record, which provide recommendations and comments contributing to the Revised Rules.
- Lawrence Berkeley National Labs Letter (October 5, 2017)
- California Council on Science and Technology report: “Long Term Viability of Underground Natural Gas Storage in California” (January 18, 2018)
The public notice initiates a 15-Day public comment period, which ends on February 27, 2018, but the saga undoubtedly will continue. The California Environmental Law Blog will follow gas storage regulatory developments as they unfold, and provide you, our readers, with pertinent information as it becomes available.