Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Preliminary Rulemaking In California For Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

On December 18, the California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources released a draft of regulations covering hydraulic fracturing. The Division says the draft regulations are a "discussion draft," meaning the version does not begin a formal rulemaking process, but rather, starts the discussion by key stakeholders, such as industry, environmental groups, regulators, and any interested members of the public. The discussions will help prepare for the more formal rulemaking process, which is expected to begin by February 2013. The Division will accept written comments until 45 days after the formal rulemaking begins.

The discussion draft regulations touch on topics such as:

  • Pre-fracturing well-testing;
  • Advance notification;
  • Monitoring during and after drilling operations;
  • Disclosure of fracturing fluid materials;
  • Confidential business information; and
  • Handling and Storage of hydraulic fracturing fluids;
The proposed regulations would require hydraulic fracturing operators to publicly disclose detailed information about their operations, including a complete list of chemicals, and their concentrations. If the material is a trade secret, then operators must inform the public of its chemical family or use a similar method to describe it.

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