Tag: Fracking

Status of Oil and Gas-related Bills Proposed in California’s 2015-2016 Legislative Session

February 27, 2015 was the deadline for lawmakers to introduce legislation to the 2015-2016 California Legislative Session and several bills related to oil and gas activities were introduced.  Below is a summary of those bills. Stoel Rives is monitoring these bills and will provide periodic updates as the bills move through the legislative process. SENATE … Continue Reading

Proposed Assembly Bill 356 Would Require Additional Groundwater Monitoring by Oil & Gas Operators

California Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) has introduced an oil and gas bill to ensure that the state comes into compliance with the Class II underground injection (“UIC”) requirements under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA”).  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”), California is currently out of compliance with certain requirements for some Class II … Continue Reading

Center for Biological Diversity Files Complaint Against Federal Agencies to Halt Offshore Fracking in California

On Thursday, Feb. 19, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) filed suit against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”), and the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. (CBD v. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management et al., … Continue Reading

Here Today & Fracked Tomorrow: A Review of SB 4 in 2014

On Wednesday, December 17, I gave a presentation to the Groundwater Resources Association (“GRA”).  I reviewed the past year’s developments in California’s regulation of hydraulic fracturing and previewed my future predictions for the industry.  Below is a summary of my talk and the power point presentation is attached here.… Continue Reading

Two County Fracking Prohibitions Succeed While One Fails: What the Voting Results in Santa Barbara, San Benito, and Mendocino Counties Mean for the Oil & Gas Industry in California

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, three counties in California presented voters with measures to ban hydraulic fracturing and other forms of intensive oil and gas operations.  Voters in Santa Barbara County rejected the measure there, while voters in San Benito and Mendocino Counties approved their respective ballot measures. Santa Barbara’s Measure P would have … Continue Reading

State Bar, Environmental Law Section Presents Update on Fracking Regulations

The California State Bar, Environmental Law Section hosts an annual conference which welcomes attorneys and students from across the state to learn and discuss cutting edge environmental law issues.  This year’s Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite featured an insightful panel on hydraulic fracturing regulation.  The panel, held on Sunday, October 19, was titled “Recent Developments … Continue Reading

Report Recommends Update of USEPA UIC Program Citing Hydraulic Fracturing Concerns

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) released a report yesterday, July 28, 2014, that presents a need for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) to update the Underground Injection Control class II program (“UIC Program”).  Under the UIC Program, the USEPA oversees and regulates groundwater affected by wells associated with oil and gas production.  Specifically, … Continue Reading

Yet Another Proposed Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing Fails: SB 1132 (Oil and gas: well stimulation treatments)

Yesterday, Senate Bill 1132 failed in the Senate.  In a 18-16 vote, SB 1132 fell three votes short of the necessary majority.  The bill was introduced by Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno on February 20, 2014, as reported here. Through amendments to Public Resources Code (“PRC”) §§ 3157, 3160, 3161, the bill … Continue Reading

Home Rule on Display in Los Angeles: First Oil-Producing City in California to Enact a Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing

It was only a matter of time before a city banned hydraulic fracturing in California – a “home rule” state, where cities and localities are permitted by constitutional amendment to enact and enforce their own zoning laws as they see fit, so long as those laws stay within the bounds of state and federal constitutions. … Continue Reading

Two State Senators Try Enacting a Fracking Moratorium in California: What Are the Chances When the Last Effort Recently Failed?

The California Assemblymembers who sought a moratorium on all well stimulation activities early last year (vis-à-vis failed bills AB 1301, AB 1323, and AB 649) are seeking yet another moratorium, this time by amending SB 4, which went into effect on January 1, 2014 (and which we have extensively analyzed – see Stoel Rives’ SB … Continue Reading

Challenge Against DOGGR Can’t Stand Under SB 4: Alameda County Judge Throws Out Environmental Suit

Environmental groups will have to wait to challenge hydraulic fracturing activities in the state of California until the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”)  issues its permanent regulations in 2015.  This is according to Alameda County Judge Evelio Grillo, who on January 17, 2014, granted a motion to dismiss a challenge brought by … Continue Reading

DOGGR Interim Regulations Provide Operators Some Guidance on SB 4 Compliance

California’s Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) is moving full-steam ahead in its implementation of SB 4 with its most recent circulation of the SB 4 Interim Well Stimulation Treatment Regulations (“Interim Regulations”).  Granted emergency regulatory authority in Pub. Res. Code § 3161(b)(6) (also known as SB 4), DOGGR has … Continue Reading

Get Ready: SB 4 Compliance Begins Next Month!

Today, the Division of Oil, Gas, & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) released a Notice to Operators (the “Notice”), clarifying that some notification aspects of SB 4 will require compliance as early as the beginning of December 2013.  SB 4 requires the creation and implementation of numerous new regulatory programs and mandates.  One new mandate is a surface … Continue Reading

Upcoming Seminar: California Land Use Law & Policy Conference

Stoel Rives is a proud sponsor of California Land Use Law & Policy Conference, featuring partner Kristen Castaños, who will speak on “A View to the Future—Anticipated Legislation and Regulation Impacting Land Use.” Stay up to date on renewable energy permitting, SB 375 and “fracking” regulation under SB 4, among many other topics. Receive $100 … Continue Reading

The Heat is On! – Offshore Fracking Activities Drawing Significant Opposition

Opposition is heating up against four offshore frac jobs permitted to occur off the Santa Barbara coastline. This year, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”) has permitted DCOR, LLC to utilize fracking technology to stimulate offshore wells. DCOR’s frac jobs, known as “mini-fracs,” were added to and approved under an already existing permit … Continue Reading

Potential Legal Challenges Likely to California’s New Fracking Law

California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 4 on Friday, September 20, 2013, establishing a permitting system for fracking of oil and gas wells. (See September 23, 2013 post.) The state, through the Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”), will be developing regulations to implement SB 4’s requirements. Despite its recent … Continue Reading

It’s Said and Done — Governor Brown Signs SB 4 into Law

On Friday, September 20, 2013, just days after indicating his support for the bill, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 4, which establishes a permitting system for the fracking of new oil and gas wells. The Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) is now officially tasked with developing the permitting program, which … Continue Reading

California Legislature Passes Fracking Bill

Just hours after the California Assembly voted to pass the remaining bill on hydraulic fracturing, SB 4, the California Senate voted to concur with the Assembly amendments. The next stop for the bill is the Governor's desk. Governor Brown's administration had previously indicated concern regarding the broad scope of the bill, which was amended in the Assembly to include other well stimulation activities including acid treatment. If the Governor vetos the bill, it can be overriden by a two-thirds vote in both houses, which is a strong possibility given the breakdown of the votes cast to pass the bill.… Continue Reading

California Assembly Passes Fracking Bill

Today the California Assembly passed the controversial bill regulating hydraulic fracturing, SB 4. The bill has been criticized by both industry groups and environmental organizations. Industry has argued that the bill is overbroad for including other types of well stimulation techniques, including acid well treatments, and creating a permitting scheme that subjects each decision to stimulate a new well to the California Environmental Quality Act. On the other end of the spectrum, the Center for Biological Diversity claims that only a moratorium on fracking would adequately protect the public and the environment.… Continue Reading

Judge Upholds DOGGR’s Application of UIC Fracking Exemption

Last week, a judge in Alameda County Superior Court denied the Center for Biological Diversity's motion for summary judgment in a case arguing that DOGGR is obligated to regulate hydraulic fracturing activities under the state's underground injection control (UIC) program. The Center challenged DOGGR's position that the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempts fracking from the state UIC program under the Safe Drinking Water Act (see January 25, 2013, post). The judge sided with DOGGR, finding that the exemption of fracking activities from state UIC regulations was consistent with the Safe Drinking Water Act and DOGGR's interpretation should be afforded great weight unless clearly erroneous.… Continue Reading

Assembly Committee Advances Fracking Bill to the Floor

At the end of last week, the Assembly Committee on Appropriations advanced the remaining bill regarding hydraulic fracturing, SB 4, to the Assembly Floor. After delaying the first scheduled vote on the bill, Appropriations advanced the bill without amendment. Since advancing to the floor, SB 4 has been amended to require the development of a reporting website and groundwater modeling criteria.… Continue Reading

Still No Agreement on Remaining Fracking Bill

The Assembly Committee on Appropriations failed to reach a decision at yesterday's hearing on SB 4 - the lone surviving bill relating to hydraulic fracturing in the California Legislature. Appropriations delayed a vote on the newly amended SB 4 for another two weeks after hearing extensive testimony on the bill. At the hearing, representatives on both sides of the issue rejected the bill. Industry representatives argued that the bill is too broad for regulating acid injection in addition to fracking. Meanwhile, environmental groups asserted that the bill is too lenient on fracking fluid disclosure requirements.… Continue Reading

BLM Announces an Environmental Assessment to Address Fracking in California

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to address hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in central California. BLM indicated that the EIS would consider the potential impacts of fracking and other well stimulation techniques associated with oil and gas leases and may result in an amendment to the resource management plan (RMP) for the Hollister Field Office.… Continue Reading
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