Another attempt in California to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other well stimulation technologies has failed to get a key legislative committee’s endorsement, drawing cautious optimism from industry representatives.

California production

Senate Bill 467 by state Sen. Scott Wiener was granted reconsideration to possibly be reintroduced.

The bill also would have prohibited wells from operating within 2,500 feet of homes, schools, healthcare facilities and other populated areas. 

The California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA) and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) said the legislation was a job killer.

“Lawmakers understood how this unconstitutional bill could expose the state to billions of dollars of lawsuits, would hurt the state’s climate leadership and eliminate more than 50,000 quality jobs in parts of the state that are struggling in this post-pandemic economy,” said CIPA CEO Rock Zierman. “We will continue to oppose bills that only increase our reliance on foreign oil which drives up gas prices, contributes to pollution in our crowded ports and is produced without California’s environmental protections or humanitarian values.”

WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd said “blanket bans are rarely good public policy. There are better ways to balance the environment, energy, equity and the economy, and our people, ideas and experience are critical to developing those solutions.”

Drilling buffer zones for wellsites could be an outcome of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order last September. Proposed regulations are expected soon. A proposed fracking moratorium stalled in the legislature in 2014, and last year a bill calling for less stringent buffer zone requirements also failed.