California creates new regulatory regime for “fracking”

Vol. 45 No. 2

Phillip M. Bender is a partner with the firm of Wrenn Bender McKown & Ring, where he practices environmental law and litigation.

On September 20, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed into law a closely watched measure that creates a new regulatory regime for hydraulic fracturing and other “unconventional” oil and gas drilling techniques in California. The law, Senate Bill 4 (S.B. 4), 2013 Cal. Stats. Ch. 313, establishes a regulatory program administered by the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) for oil and gas well stimulation treatments. These treatments include hydraulic fracturing (commonly called “fracking”) and acid well stimulation. The new program includes a scientific study, the development of regulations, a permitting process, and public notification and disclosure requirements. S.B. 4 takes effect on January 1, 2014.

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