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California House Republicans Weigh In on Fracking Law

A group of Republicans in the California congressional delegation led by Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy warned Gov. Jerry Brown last Thursday that implementation of the state's new hydraulic fracturing (fracking) legislation (SB 4), signed into law last month, should not get in the way of the state's oil/natural gas resurgence.

McCarthy and 13 other Republican congressional representatives warned that the new regulation shouldn't be an undue hindrance to the industry. Regulating the latest advanced drilling techniques should not hand-tie the industry, the congressional representatives told Brown.

"Any hydraulic fracturing regulations must not end up being a solution in search of a problem," said McCarthy and the Republican other congressional representatives, such as Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

A spokesperson for Brown told NGI's Shale Daily that the governor is unlikely to respond publicly to the warning from the state's Republican U.S. House members.

Echoing federal government and industry projections about California's Monterey Shale, McCarthy said the state is literally "sitting on top of a sea of black gold" that the congressmen hope can help "put our energy supply and economic prosperity in our own hands."

An initial call into Brown's press office drew little response, although a spokesperson acknowledged that the Oct.17 two-page (plus signatures) letter had been received. The congressmen expressed their feelings about the importance of the state ensuring what they called "a robust oil and natural gas industry in California."

They urged that the eventual rules implemented by California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) be "first and foremost" based on facts and sound science, taking into account the state's existing and far-reaching regulations. They said the implementation by the state should be done in conjunction with industry representatives in California.

Brown and the head of DOGGR earlier in October indicated that they are supportive of the use of fracking in the oil/gas sector (see Shale Daily, Oct. 14).

"It is absolutely imperative that the new permitting programs take into account the reality of how the oil/gas industry conducts [its] budgeting and planning efforts, scheduling of drilling rigs and other routine daily activities," the congressmen said.

While stressing that they strongly support protecting drinking water supplies, the congressmen said it must be recognized in the new rules that California already has "some of the most stringent oil/gas production and environmental protection regulations in the country."

The lawmakers said they would work with Brown on the issue of fracking and to ensure that California "remains one of the top oil producing states in the nation."

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