As the deadline for moving proposed bills out of finance committees came and went Thursday, the California state legislature again gave up on measures designed to more closely regulate hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Before the state lawmakers went on their annual month-long summer recess in mid-July, a bill to put a moratorium on fracking (AB 972) and another to force oil/gas drillers to divulge the chemicals used in the drilling process (AB 591) appeared headed through the normal committee stops needed to be considered at the end of this session, which concludes Aug. 31 (see Shale Daily, June 28).
On Thursday, however, the Senate Appropriations Committee tabled both proposals, along with a myriad of other bills dealing with taxes, lobbying and other subjects. The Senate leadership was concerned about some of the legislation offering tax breaks when the state is in the fiscal bind that it finds itself currently.
Earlier this year AB 972 was cobbled into what was formerly a health care bill by California Assembly member Betsy Butler. The bill would prohibit the state’s oil/gas supervisor from approving any fracking permits until California approves new rules regulating the practice, which has been done for decades in the state.
A version of AB 591, California’s proposed fracking chemicals disclosure law, failed to pass last year (see Shale Daily, Sept. 2, 2011), but a subsequent controversy concerning Gov. Jerry Brown’s firing of two top state oil/gas regulatory officials revitalized the issue early this year when it was alleged that they were terminated because they opposed fracking (see Shale Daily, Feb. 1).
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