Ventura County Board of Supervisors sent a representative to the appropriations hearing in support of SB4. The bill is one step closer to being the first state fracking law passedin the state that holds the largest supply of oil in the nation.
From Sen. Pavley's website
CALIFORNIA MOVES CLOSER TO REGULATING UNCHECKED OILFIELD PRACTICESAugust 30, 2013
SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted 12-5 Friday to approve Senate Bill 4 (Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills), clearing the way for the full Assembly to approve regulations for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), acidizing and other unregulated oilfield practices.
Unlike at least 14 petroleum producing states including Texas and Wyoming, California does not currently regulate fracking, which is the injection of water, sand and chemicals underground to crack rock formations and free up oil and gas. The state also lacks regulations for acidizing, which is the use of hydrofluoric acid and other corrosive acids to dissolve shale rock. Oil companies have predicted acidizing could be the primary tool for accessing the Monterey Shale, the nation’s largest shale oil deposit with an estimated 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
SB 4 would require permits for fracking, acidizing and other oil well stimulation practices. It would require notification of neighbors, public disclosure of all chemicals used, groundwater and air quality monitoring and an independent scientific study. The study would evaluate potential risks such as groundwater and surface water contamination, greenhouse gas emissions, local air pollution, seismic impacts, and effects on wildlife, native plants and habitat.
“This bill will address serious unanswered questions about the safety and environmental risks of fracking and acidizing,” Senator Pavley said. “California needs strict regulations to hold the oil industry accountable for the true costs of its activities. I’d like to thank the chairman, Assemblymember Mike Gatto, for his support.”
"Senator Pavley worked tirelessly to get some meaningful regulation of fracking on the books,” said Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. This is an important step in the right direction."
Also on Friday, the Los Angeles City Council’s Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee approved a resolution endorsing Senate Bill 4. The resolution will be considered by the City Council on Tuesday.
- See more at: http://sd27.senate.ca.gov/news/2013-08-30-california-moves-closer-regulating-unchecked-oilfield-practices#sthash.n8aK0YhB.dpuf
by Kit Stoltz
"The U.S. Army had a problem, a big problem: 165,000 gallons of some of the deadliest war materials known to man, including napalm, chlorine gas, mustard gas and sarin, a nerve gas developed by the Nazis, tiny doses of which can kill in minutes. After stockpiling these weapons of destruction for decades in its Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, the government decided the time had come to dispose of the hazardous wastes but didn’t know how.
The solution? In l961, authorities drilled a well 12,000 feet deep, far below any aquifer, and over the next five years pumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic wastes into a cavity in the rock miles beneath the surface.
One problem: Not long after the pumping began, Denver and nearby suburbs began to experience swarms of earthquakes. Most of them were quite small, less than 3 in magnitude, but in a region that rarely experiences earthquakes, 1,300 earthquakes in four years raised questions. Then, in August 1967, a significant earthquake — magnitude 5.3 — shook the city of Denver and the nearby suburb of Commerce, with damages that totaled over $1 million."
Click here to read the FULL article and get your copy of the REPORTER today.
SB 4 Makes Strange Bed Fellows. Sierra Club joins WSPA and CIPA (two industry trade groups) in opposing SB4 but for different reasons.
***NOTE: the bill will be held in "suspense" for a short time in this committee before a vote - the economic impact will be examined.***
"Take a picture of this it doesn't happen often" said the Kathryn Phillips, Director of Sierra Club of California as she shared the table with Western STates Petroleum Association and California Independent Petroleum Association in opposition to the only bill alive in the State to regulate fracking.
Notes on comments in SUPPORT of SB4:
Ventura County Board of Supervisors, sends representative to support SB4.
Speakers in support of bill - Water district groups and family farm alliances/ LA community college district/ Women League of Voters/ American Lung Association/SoCoast Air Quality Control District/ California Grange... more coming.
Witnesses in OPPOSITION:
Western States Petroleum Association, California Independent Petroleum Association
"Most happening in very remote areas in Bakersfield... " stated by rep from CIPA.
(we keep hearing that line - that most fracking is occurring in one field in Bakersfield. The Bakersfield area fields do currently produce the most oil and it would follow that they are fracking more than other areas, BUT we are seeing many new leases signed, and a jump in operators getting their ducks in a row as they prepare to access the Monterey Shale. Alsot SB4 also handles acidization which according to Pavley is being used on 8 in 10 wells in Ventura County)
Sierra Club in California actually is joining the oil companies in opposing the bill. They object to one provision - want more information about chemicals "must include quantities and concentrations."
"I have members who live in Bakersfield, members who know that aquifers know no boundaries." said Phillips.
Also in opposition: American Chemistry Council / Citizens from Butte Council - want fracking moratorium
Public comments in opposition want this bill to be stopped to allow for a moratorium NOW.
"You will be drinking this frack water before long. If you think you won't, you don't understand how water sheds work," from resident of Butte County.
Local Response from Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas CFROG.org:
On April 9, 2007, BHP Billiton’s proposal to build an enormous liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of Oxnard and Malibu was scheduled to be heard in Ventura County by the California State Lands Commission.
Offshore hydraulic fracturing lacks oversight in federal and state waters - Ojai Valley news, Aug 16 issue
A story written by VCInFocus writer Kimberly Rivers appears on the front page of tomorrows Ojai Valley News with the above headline. You can see the OVN blog version here: http://ovnblog.com/?p=7961
Federal agencies responsible for overseeing oil and gas operators in California’s coastal waters are not aware of hydraulic fracturing activities that may have taken place there, according to documents obtained through a recent Freedom of Information Act request.
With the recent reports and papers coming out regarding offshore fracking (VCInFocus has story in the works, reaching out to sources not in other news stories) a whole new world has opened up.
I had never heard of DOGGR before diving into this issue. And for the past seven months that I have been covering the oil and gas industry , which has included numerous emails with the public affairs office of DOGGR (our state regulatory body for the oil and gas industry) I never once came across the following two agencies (but now all in the one wee, there they are)
BSEE: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
*I wonder what their role is compared to the EPA in terms of environmental enforcement.
BOEM: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Check out their websites, they are pretty important federal agencies.
And if you don't know about the Cal. Spill Watch agency, well put their phone number on your list: 1-800-OILS-911
report any spills.
and like their facebook page to check out some photos of recent spills.
Gov. Browns administration has submitted proposed changes to SB 4 - the only live fracking bill in the legislature. Sen Fran Pavley, who penned SB 4 says there are problems with the changes.
Would these changes make it easier for oil companies to frack if SB 4 passes? The industry has consistently said local governments should not regulate fracking and wait for the state regulators... meaning the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal REsources to pass their rules that are in the creation phase right now. But some legislators (and many citizens) argue that DOGGR failed in the past to regulate this well completion technique and are wary of depending on them now.
See the VC Star article.
An ad refuting claims made by Transcanada about their proposed Keystone Pipeline was pulled from NBC last night during Jay Leno's interview with President Obama. Click here for the story:
"The fact that hydraulic fracturing is occurring off our California coast with little or no review is a frightening thought," said Williams through a press release on Tuesday. See the full press release below. VCInFocus is awaiting a response regarding whether Williams would support a moratorium while an investigation is done.
The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request has received documents from the Environmental Protection Agency which reveal that companies operating wells off California's central coast not only we allowed to hydraulically fracture wells without any environmental review, but they were also allowed to release waste water from fracking into the ocean.
Oil companies point out that the water is treated before being released, and that fracking has not caused any environmental damage in California.
VCInFocus is awaiting comment from local companies Venoco and DCOR. Both of which have application pending before the Ventura County Planning office. DCOR has a major modification request pending.
Here is a detailed article about the EPA documents and the companies operating offshore in SB and Ventura County, including information about their frack jobs.
And here is the website of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement BSEE: http://www.bsee.gov
Government documents including permits and internal emails from the BSEE reveal that fracking off the shores of California is more widespread than previously known. While new oil leases are banned, companies can still drill from 23 grandfathered-in platforms in waters where endangered blue and humpback whales and other marine mammals often congregate.
Of note: The website listed for DCOR LLC based in Ventura is currently offline, and in July the Ventura Chamber of Commerce welcomed DCOR to it's ranks.