Category: Oil and Gas

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California Water Commission Adopts Regulations For Changing Groundwater Basin Boundaries

On October 21, 2015, the California Water Commission (“CWC”) adopted emergency regulations formulated by the Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) that establish a process by which local agencies may seek groundwater basin boundary modifications.  The proposed regulations are the first of their kind authorizing DWR to formally consider requests by local agencies to modify groundwater … Continue Reading

Environmental Activists Attack State Water Resources Control Board Order Approving Oil Industry Wastewater Disposal Methods

On August 28, Earthjustice filed a petition with the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) seeking to overturn a Central Valley Regional Water Board (“Regional Board”) order allowing an oil and gas wastewater disposal company to maintain their ongoing waste water operations, which can employ unlined disposal pits in Kern County. Valley Water Management … Continue Reading

California Groundwater Update: Public Comments Due For Basin Boundary Regulations

As one of many implementation steps under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA” codified as Water Code §§ 10720 et seq.), basin boundary regulations were released recently by the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”), with a public comment deadline set for Friday, September 4. DWR is holding public meetings this week to solicit public … Continue Reading

Legislation Revamping California Groundwater Adjudications Marches Forward

AB 1390 aims in unprecedented fashion to expedite procedures and processes for groundwater adjudications, which, in California, are known to take one or two decades before reaching a final judgment. The bill would add various provisions to the California Code of Civil Procedure that would be codified as Sections 830 through 849. AB 1390 was … Continue Reading

California DWR’s New Groundwater Basin Regulations for SGMA

With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) taking effect on January 1, 2015, the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) is in full swing of holding public workshops and information sessions to solicit input from stakeholders and other members of the public as well as to answer questions regarding SGMA’s various milestone requirements. On July … Continue Reading

Activists ask Court to Scrap EIR and Stop Fracking

Today, July 30, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) filed a complaint in Sacramento County Superior Court against the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”). CBD claims, among other things, that DOGGR failed to comply with Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”) by releasing its Final EIR regarding oil and gas well stimulation treatment … Continue Reading

Fate of Injection Wells in Historically Exempt Aquifers Comes Closer to Determination

A lawsuit seeking an immediate halt to oil and gas wastewater injection at 2,500 wells across California took a positive turn for energy producers last week as Superior Court Judge George C. Hernandez denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in a closely watched case challenging long-standing operations in the California oil and gas industry. … Continue Reading

Gov. Brown Assembles Fracking Review Panel

According to several news organizations, Governor Brown has announced plans to form a new panel to review the recent well stimulation study conducted by the California Council on Science and Technology (“CCST”). The study found that while there is little evidence that hydraulic fracturing is directly linked to widespread negative health and environmental impacts, additional data … Continue Reading

Independent Study on California Fracking Released

The California Council on Science & Technology (“CCST”) recently released its Independent Study of well stimulation in California. The report was prepared for the California Natural Resources Agency in response to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”). The Study notes the following key points: Hydraulic fracturing in California does not use a lot of fresh water … Continue Reading

Plaintiff Seeks to use Anti-Discrimination Law to Stop Fracking

On July 14, a complaint was filed in Sacramento County Superior Court against Governor Brown and the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) Supervisor Steve Bohlen.  The lawsuit claims Governor Brown and Supervisor Bohlen have adopted regulations that result in racially disparate impacts from well stimulation on minority students. State regulators recently implemented … Continue Reading

California SB 4 Compliance Handbook: New Third Edition Now Available!

New Third Edition Reflects July 1 Permanent Regulations of Hydraulic Fracturing We have prepared an update to the firm’s SB 4 Compliance Handbook to aid operators in their efforts to comply with SB 4 and its new permitting scheme. Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”) regulates well stimulation treatments in California, including hydraulic fracturing and acid … Continue Reading

Water Board Signs Off on New Fracking Requirements

Yesterday, July 7, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) adopted new requirements (“Model Criteria”) for groundwater monitoring in areas where oil and gas stimulation activities occur, such as hydraulic fracturing. The Water Board was required to develop these requirements pursuant to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”). The requirements cover a wide range of … Continue Reading

DOGGR Releases Final Well Stimulation EIR

Yesterday, July 1, 2015, pursuant to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”) the State Oil & Gas Supervisor Steven Bohlen, head of the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”), certified a Final Environmental Impact Report (“Final EIR”) for oil and gas well stimulation treatments. As presented in the Final EIR, for the … Continue Reading

To Curtail Or Not To Curtail…That Is the Question

On June 12, the State Water Board issued a notice of “unavailability of water” and the “need for immediate curtailment” from various water users holding pre-1914 water rights.  Less than two weeks later on June 23, lawyers for the State Water Board reportedly stated in court this curtailment notice is advisory only, which would seem to … Continue Reading

State Water Board Receives Groundwater Monitoring Recommendations from Experts

The State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) has recently released recommendations from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (“LLNL”) on Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring. Pursuant to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”), the Water Board is required to develop regulations for sampling, testing, and monitoring groundwater during hydraulic fracturing operations. The bill requires groundwater monitoring … Continue Reading

Governor Selects David Bunn to Lead Department of Conservation

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown appointed David Bunn, a former fish and game official and U.C. Davis academic, to lead the California Department of Conservation. The appointment comes after the departure of Director Mark Nechodom, who resigned earlier this month. As director of the Department of Conservation, Bunn will inherit an office that administers a variety … Continue Reading

Fish & Game Code Section 1602 Is Unambiguous, Now Requiring More Water Users To Provide “1602 Notification” To “Substantially Divert” Water

On June 4, 2015, the Court of Appeal ruled that California Fish and Game Code section 1602 (“Section 1602”) unambiguously requires notification to the Department of Fish and Wildlife (“Department”) if an entity or individual plans to “substantially divert” water, even when the legal right to use the water was previously established. (Siskiyou County Farm … Continue Reading

Yet Another Lawsuit Seeking to Limit California Oil Development

The clamor over hydraulic fracturing continued Wednesday as environmental activists filed another lawsuit to limit oil and gas development in California.  The lawsuit, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Los Padres ForestWatch, challenges a plan to open portions of federal land in California to oil and gas operations. The … Continue Reading

Industry and Environmental Groups Make Pitch to Water Board Regarding Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring

On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) held a Public Workshop regarding the proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring (“Model Criteria”). In this meeting, the Water Board heard comments from stakeholders who voiced their support or concern regarding the Model Criteria. Dr. Steven Bohlen, the State Oil & … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Oil Industry Wastewater Disposal Practices

On Thursday, May 7, 2015, two environmental groups filed a lawsuit seeking an immediate halt to oil and gas wastewater injection at 2,500 wells across California. The suit, filed by the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, claims that the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) should be prohibited from … Continue Reading

Water Board Issues Proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring

On April 29, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) issued a Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment and Notice of Public Workshop regarding the proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring (“Model Criteria”) for areas of oil and gas well stimulation. Senate Bill 4 requires groundwater monitoring for all oil and gas … Continue Reading

Letter Urges Oil & Gas Wastewater Well Shut-Ins due to Risk of Groundwater Contamination; Regulators Stick to Rulemaking

On March 20, Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) wrote a letter to Governor Jerry Brown requesting that his administration immediately shut down approximately 2,500 underground injection wells.  The letter was signed by seven other legislators and urges that these wells must be closed until “all appropriate aquifer exemptions have been issued by the US EPA … Continue Reading

Citadel Drops Lawsuit Against San Benito Fracking Ban

On Friday, April 3, Citadel Exploration filed a request for dismissal in its suit against San Benito County’s Measure J.  Measure J was passed in the November 2014 election and is a ban on high-intensity petroleum operations, which includes hydraulic fracturing, acid well stimulation, and cyclic steam injection.  Citadel initiated this suit in February 2015, … Continue Reading

California Proposes Emergency Rules for Oil & Gas Waste Water Injection Wells as Precautionary Measure

On Thursday, April 2, the California Department of Conservation (“DOC”) published a notice of proposed emergency rulemaking for the state’s Class II Underground Injection Control (“UIC”) program.  The purpose of the rulemaking is set a schedule to eliminate injection into non-exempt aquifers so as to ensure that California oil and gas activities are in compliance … Continue Reading
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