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Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing: California Assembly Passes SB 4

Sep 16, 2013

The California Assembly recently passed hotly debated and newly amended Senate Bill No. 4 ("SB 4") to oversee and regulate hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation activities in the state. SB 4 represents an attempted compromise to permit hydraulic fracturing and the development of Monterey Shale reserves, while balancing concerns over its potential impacts.

To address the Legislature's determination that there is insufficient information available to assess the science of hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation technologies employed in California, SB 4 requires the Secretary of Natural Resources Agency to complete an independent scientific study on well stimulation treatments by January 1, 2015.

Well stimulation treatments are defined as any treatment of a well designed to enhance oil and gas production or recovery by increasing the permeability of the formation, including, but not limited to, hydraulic fracturing and acid well stimulation treatments.

The study will evaluate all aspects of well stimulation treatments, including a hazard and risk analysis and the identification of geologic features in the vicinity of a well that should be considered. The study also will examine greenhouse gas emissions, seismic activity, surface impacts and toxicology.

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