Bill Adds Fracking Controls

By Published On: April 13, 2012

State lawmakers on a 5-3 vote approved a measure that puts some control for the first time on fracking operations in the state used to extract natural gas and oil. The Senate Natural Resources Committee April 10 passed Senator Fran Pavley’s (D-Agoura Hills) measure, SB 1054, to require energy companies to notify property owners 30 days before launching fracking operations close to their property. There are no state regulations or systematic reporting requirements for fracking operations. But, in Los Angeles County, the Department of Regional Planning approves conditional-use permits. The county’s Baldwin Hills area--with one of the largest oil fields in California--has established a Baldwin Hills Community Standards District. The district’s regulations supplement the county’s. Pavley said the notification was the “necessary first step to begin collecting data on fracking in California.” The bill analysis adds, “It’s a simple no surprises’ policy to give the well’s neighbors advance notice providing them with the option to take any precautionary measures they choose.” Fracking involves the subsurface injection of water and other materials, including at times toxic materials, to access subterranean natural gas. It has been in use in California for many years but has not yet led to any reported serious contamination as it has in other parts of the country.

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