Some news from our neighbor to the north: A group calling themselves Santa Barbara Water Guardians have gotten a proposition on the ballet that would ban "High-Intensity Petroleum Operations. High-Intensity Petroleum Operations include hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking), acid well stimulation treatments, cyclic steam injection and other types of oil and gas development that use advanced well stimulation technologies." in Santa Barbara County.
The group says the proposition will only apply to new projects.
For information supporting Prop P visit: http://www.sbcountywaterguardians.org
VCInFocus is awaiting a response from Western States Petroleum Association for the industry's take on Prop P.
Yesterday County Planning staff held a public hearing, a normal part of the application process for a modification to a Conditional Use Permit that allows drilling for oil and extraction.
That plan, includes two "test" wells and the company, DCOR Inc. (Dos Cuadros Offshore Resources) says they won't use hydraulic fracturing. But concerned residents say that they may be able to come back at any time and just add that in.
The Star's article, printed online yesterday (May 22) is HERE.
Photo: May, 2014 - a "rig" at a well. Perha
The County heard concerns from the public regarding fracking, cumulative effects, and the close vicinity of earthquake faults in that area.
Seneca Resources, deepening wells in Sespe
In addition to this project, another larger project submitted by Seneca Resources, involving a proposal to deepen/rework three wells in a field above Piru, hit a small road bump this month when an error in the permitting process was caught by Los Padres ForestWatch. ForestWatch discovered that the applicant had submitted an incorrect CUP with their application, an older one from 1976. That permit had been updated in 1981, requiring a more in depth application process (a minor modification) for the type of work Seneca is proposing. This means that the zoning clearance granted has been revoked, and Seneca will now have to file the proper application for a minor modification. A process which includes a public hearing and environmental review.
Seneca Resources, 8 new wells in Los Padres National Forest -
The National Forest is accepting public comment until June 4 on this project. These wells are likely to be completed using hydraulic fracturing. For more info click HERE.
Other proposals from oil companies are listed HERE.
From the press release:
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, State Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno(D-San Francisco) introduced legislation to protect the health and safety of Californians from the potentially harmful consequences of unconventional well stimulation and drilling.
SB 1132 calls for a moratorium on all forms of extreme well stimulation, including hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," and acidization until a comprehensive, independent and multi-agency review exploring the economic, environmental and public health impacts is complete. The study will also include evaluation of the adverse and disparate health impacts and environmental burdens affecting lower-income and minority communities. It further requires that Governor Jerry Brown
act in response to the study's findings to determine if and where fracking and other well stimulation may resume.
"There are a million Angelenos that live within a 5-mile radius of the largest urban oil field in the country," said Senator Mitchell, whose predominantly minority district includes the Inglewood Oil Field. "In my district vulnerable neighborhoods lie adjacent to drilling operations whose practices go largely unregulated. Complaints that residents are exposed to hazardous chemicals and toxic pollutants and which cause all kinds of health symptoms have been ignored. When industrial operations like fracking and acidization disproportionately impact minority communities, environmental justice has been breached and needs to be restored. SB 1132 will do that."
Current California law does not regulate either fracking or acidization. Of the more than 750 chemicals used in fracking, at least 29 of them are known to be harmful to human health. These chemicals, including hydrofluoric acid and benzene, have been linked to cancer, respiratory, developmental, and neurological problems, yet the practice of fracking and other potentially dangerous methods of oil and gas extraction continue to spread.
A bill passed last year requires an independent study of fracking. SB 1132 would expand its scope to include health risks posed by chemicals used in other forms of well stimulation, the safety of industry workers and nearby residents, as well as the state's water supply.
"A moratorium on fracking is especially critical as California faces a severe drought with water resources at an all-time low," said Senator Leno. "We are currently allowing fracking operations to expand despite the potential consequences on our water supply, including availability and price of water, the potential for drinking water contamination and the generation of billions of barrels of polluted water."
SOURCE CA Senator Holly Mitchell
Read the Bill HERE
Questions Remain Over Offshore AcidizingDiffering Definitions of Technical Terms May Explain Why Platform Holly Dispute Exists
Thursday, February 20, 2014by MATT KETTMANN (CONTACT)
Last week, one day after a report was released claiming that Venoco Inc. was using a technique known as matrix acidizing to stimulate production from the wells that it accesses from Platform Holly off the Goleta coast, the Carpinteria-based oil company issued a brief statement denying that it was using the process for extraction purposes. “Venoco does not hydraulically fracture or matrix acidize any wells on Platform Holly,” said Venoco spokesperson Lisa Rivas in an email. Instead, she explained that acid is used for cleaning the platform’s well bores, which has been done for several decades. “This is a process that has been used in onshore and offshore oil wells around the world for generations,” Rivas explained.
Read the full story: http://independent.com/news/2014/feb/20/questions-remain-over-offshore-acidizing/
Another story, another perspective of the Job Boom the industry says comes with the enhanced production of oil and gas. This short film from the NY Times, focuses on one woman's experience in North Dakota. California is estimated to have many times more oil under our soil.
"Running on Fumes in North Dakota," NY Times.
Photo info: A acid job that occurred in September 2013 in Upper Ojai. In the coming year, operators will have to "certify" to DOGGR that prior to this operation they have notified neighbors within 500 feet of the site, and within 1500 feet of the well bore location underground. Currently no notification of any kind is required.
The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources has released a thirteen page document containing proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing (fracking), acidization and other well stimulation processes. Today begins the sixty day public comment period and marks the beginning of the formal rule making process which lasts three hundred and sixty five days. Those regulations will take affect January 1, 2015. In addition, DOGGR has begun the drafting of emergency regulations (so called because of the tight time frame with which they have to get them out and implemented) that will take affect on January 1, 2014.
These rules are mandated by the passage of SB 4 or The Pavley Bill, written by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills). Beginning Jan 1, 2014 operators will have to certify that they have complied with notification (of neighbors within 1500 feet of the well bore destination and within 500 feet of the well surface location) rules disclosure requirements. The permit process changes in 2015 with an actual application and technical review that will occur prior to permit for well stimulation being approved.
(edited/corrected 11/19/13) The new regulations apply to "hydraulic fracturing, acid fracturing, and acid matrix stimulation." The article does not apply to "underground injection projects." An underground injection project or disposal projects is defined - in these proposed regulations - as a "sustained or continual injection into one or more wells over an extended period in order to add fluid to a zone for the purpose of enhanced oil recovery, disposal or storage." Various projects that are not covered in the proposed regulations - which are aimed at regulated well stimulation processes - include "water flood injection, steam flood injection, cyclic steam injection, injection disposal and gas storage projects."
DOGGR expects to have to increase the fourteen cent per barrel assessment that is currently charged to all operators in the state in order to fund the implementation of the new rules.
“We’re pleased that the State has taken this important step towards providing more public disclosure and environmental safeguards for fracking in the Los Padres National Forest and throughout California,” said Jeff Kuyper, executive director of Los Padres ForestWatch, an independent nonprofit organization that monitors oil drilling and fracking in the Sespe Oil Field. “But there’s still much work to be done. As the regulations are finalized over the course of the next year, we will continue to demand the strongest protections possible to guard against pollution and protect our forest’s watersheds. Our farms, our communities, and our wildlife depend on it.”
Friday morning DOGGR officials spoke with reporters on the phone regarding the proposed regulations and emphasized that while a complex body of laws has been in place for decades covering well integrity and construction the new laws create transparency by improving access to information.
"These regulations give us more information about [hydraulic fracturing] is used today," said Tim Kustic, director of DOGGR. "And going forward. This sets the stage for new and robust regulations." He emphasized that industry has already voluntarily disclosed 1000 fracking jobs in the state on the website fracfocus. DOGGR will use fracfocus in the interim while it develops it's own online database for reporting well stimulation processes.
"One of the successes of SB4 is that it will increase our understanding of ground water," said Jason Marshall, chief deputy director with the Department of Conservation.
Also on the call was Tom Howard, executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board. An important part of the SB4 creates for the first time ever in the state requirements for the ground water management plan, and testing for ground water baseline quality.
Howard explained that the state water board will be entering into a rulemaking process as well as they implement the aspects of SB4 that apply to testing and monitoring of the ground water - SB4 actually creates an addition to the state water code.
Public hearings are scheduled throughout the state. AT this time there is no hearing scheduled in Ventura County, but Sen. Pavley has requested that one be held, Nechodom indicated they are considering that, but that a workshop will take place in Ventura County as the scoping progresses regarding the environmental impact study on hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation practices.
“It is irresponsible for the oil industry to continue fracking our national forest until the regulations are finalized and adequate safeguards are in place to protect our watersheds,” said Kuyper. “ The Sespe Creek watershed is one of our region’s most ecologically sensitive areas, and every precaution should be taken to protect this important resource.”
Visit the DOGGR website to review the text of the proposed regulations and for information on the hearings.
Just before 5:00 today the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources DOGGR, sent a notice to members of the media that at the proposed regulations will be made public tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. This will begin a sixty-day public comment period as part of the formal rule making process.
A conference call for members of the media only, will take place from 9 to 10 am giving the press the opportunity to ask questions to Mark Nechodom, Director of the Department of Conservation, Jason Marshall - Chief Deputy Director for the Department of Conservation and Tim Kustic, State Oil and Gas Supervisor, head of DOGGR
DOGGR has been holding public hearing to receive input on their draft regulation that were specific to hydraulic fracturing. Earlier this year state legislators realized that DOGGR was not tracking or specifically overseeing the process and so DOGGR was charged with creating regulations. During the latest rule making session the legislator passed one bill - SB4 written by Sen. Fran Pavley (D- Agoura Hills) that will apply to fracking and acidization as well as other well stimulation practices. The bill requires that DOGGR create rules and frameworks for permitting fracking, acidization and other well stimulation practices. It requires the monitoring of ground water, and disclosure of chemicals being used for well stimulation. Supporters of SB4 say that it is a huge step up from having no regulations
Many environmental groups cried foul when they felt that SB4 had been weakened and that it paved the way for unhindered fracking prior to its provisions taking affect. And groups who continue to push for a ban or moratorium on fracking say that SB4 may hinder Gov. Jerry Brown or any local government body from taking action. Pavley has said that is not the case, and that the bill does not interfere with the Governors authority to impose an emergency ban or moratorium if he sees fit to do so.
Parts of SB4 go into effect on January 1, 2014, while other parts will begin Jan. 1 2015. The rules being made public tomorrow
During the public hearings held throughout the state over the past year members of the public demanded stronger oversight, more requirements regarding notification and disclosure of what chemicals are used. SB4 has added requirements of ground water monitoring and notification of neighboring property owners and tenants.
What question do you have for your State Oil and Gas supervisors?
Post your questions here (comments) or on our facebook page.
Will your local media be covering this issue? Are they educated about the issue?
Stay tuned, VCINFocus will be on the call.
Story by VCInFocus writer Kimberly Rivers: Local watchdog group Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas has filed two complaints with Ventura County Planning alleging two complaints against Santa Paula based, Mirada Petroleum. Click HERE for the full story. *Full story only available to those who subscribe to the Ojai Valley News.
This is an aerial image from Ventura County mapping. It was shot in 2006 and shows a "pad" that was not there in an image from earlier in 2006 (near the center of image). One complaint alleges that Mirada did not have the zoning clearance or grading permit to clear the forest in that location. The well, Nesbitt 5, CFROG claims was supposed to be put on another existing pad with the other "Nesbitt" wells. The County says they are investigating and expect to be able to respond within 30 days. Legal counsel for Mirada dismisses the complaint saying the pad had been there for "a long time."
Complaints filed in VC alleging violations of conditional use permits: Watchdog group CFROG announced this week
This week Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas (CFROG) met with County Planning Director Kim Prillhart and submitted two complaints alleging that Santa Paula based Mirada Petroleum has violated aspects of its conditional use permit CUP to operate oil and gas wells. The complaint focuses on an oil field in the area above Thomas Aquinas College near the Upper Ojai Valley and above Santa Paula.
One complaint claims that Mirada has violated a recent amendment to its CUP that required it file a form with the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources indicating its intention to idle and abandon several wells. CFROG says that according to the County and DOGGR, Mirada has not yet filed those forms, and the CUP required the forms be filed within 90 days of the permit taking effect. That time period has since expired.
The second complaint alleges that a few years ago Mirada drilled a well in a section of "pristine" forest without the necessary permits. That well was supposed to be on an existing oil pad, but instead Mirada drilled it in a spot that did not have any wells.
County staff told CFROG it may take up to 30 days for them to investigate and respond.
Today, Wednesday Oct. 23, CFROG is hosting a breakfast fundraiser where they plan to publicly announce the complaints with Sen. Fran Pavley in attendance. VC
Check this fridays edition of the Ojai Valley News for the full story.
Last week the Environmental Defense Center issued a new report on the practice of hydraulic fracturing - also known as fracking - in the ocean off the coast of California. The EDC charges that the federal government has for the past 20 years "been asleep at the switch while fracking and other forms of well stimulation have been conducted from platforms in the fragile waters off the south central coast." The report also addresses other well stimulation practices used offshore.
The report comes on the heals of Gov. Brown signing SB 4, the first regulation in California to specifically address various well stimulation practices including fracking and acidization. The EDC notes however, that SB 4 applies to onshore land and offshore waters within the State of California's jurisdiction, the new law does not apply to federal waters - which is the focus of the new report.
Click the image above to view the report.
Portions of the report appear below:
"Although fracking has been conducted off of California’s shores for at least two decades, the practice was until recently largely unknown to state and federal regulators, as well as the general public."
"EDC’s review and analysis of federal records received through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show that at least 15 fracs have occurred offshore California, with several more proposals pending. More fracs have almost certainly been conducted, however, as federal regulators were until recently unaware that the practice was being used. The information currently available shows that the majority of fracs have occurred from platforms with a history of spills that are in close proximity to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and other ecologically important areas."
" The nation’s first offshore wells were drilled along this coast, and it was here that the nation’s first large offshore oil disaster occurred. The 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, which still looms large in the public’s consciousness, is widely credited with catalyzing enactment of landmark state and federal environmental legislation. The spill, however, failed to substantially slow federal leasing and permitting decisions that opened up California’s waters to extensive offshore oil development. Between 1967 and 1984, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) sold 311 leases covering more than 1.6 million acres off the California coast.41 Today, 23 offshore platforms still operate in the Santa Barbara Channel, all but one of which is located in federal, rather than state waters.42
In light of its findings the EDC makes several recommendations to the Obama Administration:
"In order to guard against an offshore drilling disaster involving fracking off California’s shores, EDC recommends that the Obama administration: