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California Rekindles Fracking Proposal; Producers Back One Bill

California lawmakers are rekindling an effort that died last year to place chemical disclosure requirements on oil and natural gas producers that use hydraulic fracturing (fracking) well stimulation.

The measure (AB 591) has passed the state lower house Assembly and is waiting to be revived in the Senate, the head of the California Independent Producers Association (CIPA), Rock Zierman, told NGI's Shale Daily, noting that his membership is again supporting the measure because it has been amended to accommodate industry concerns.

Zierman said CIPA also is involved in establishing a tour for Gov. Jerry Brown of oilfields in Kern County in the south end of the oil-rich San Joaquin Valley, something Brown alluded to when he attended an energy conference last Friday (see Shale Daily, March 27). The producers' group met with the governor earlier this month and during that briefing he asked for a tour, Zierman said, adding that Brown is basically keeping an "open mind" on the issue.

A second proposal without any detail, a so-called "spot bill" (SB 1054), has been proposed by Sen. Fran Pavley. Even though there is no meat to the proposal yet, Zierman said he expected Pavley's bill to be "a lot more aggressive" than AB 591.

As outlined on Pavley's website, Fracking Notification bill would require advance notice of fracking to owners/occupants of properties adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, oil/gas wells. "Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial and potentially risky drilling technique," according to Pavley's website, which lists as the bill's sponsor the Environmental Working Group.

Nationally there are 11 states with fracking disclosure rules, seven of which require some chemical concentration disclosures as well as the chemical names: Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming. California and four other states (Idaho, Nebraska, New York and West Virginia) are in the process of developing fracking rules, according to a recent analysis by the law firm of Vinson & Elkins LLP.

State websites and/or the nonprofit industry site FracFocus.org are the means for implementing the disclosures in the states with requirements now in place or soon to begin. The timing requirements vary from before fracking begins to within 20-60 days of the fracking being completed, according to Vinson & Elkins.

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