Stoel Rives attorney Mike Mills discussed with Fiona Smith of the Daily Journal the significance of California fracking legislation signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last Friday. The bill, known as SB 4, establishes a permitting system for the fracking of new oil and gas wells, and imposes stricter groundwater monitoring regulations, new notification procedures to nearby property owners prior to well stimulation activities, and new disclosure requirements for the chemical make-up of fracking fluid.
Mills said the question of whether SB 4 exempts state regulators from performing a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of individual well stimulation permits represents "ground zero" for both oil and gas operators and environmentalists. He noted that if CEQA is interpreted as applying to individual fracking permits, the process "has the ability to grind the permitting process to a halt."
Mills and his colleagues have covered the SB 4 issue extensively, along with efforts by other states to regulate fracking, on the Stoel Rives California Environmental Law Blog and Mineral Law Blog. A comprehensive blog archive of SB 4 developments is available at the tag "SB 4."
"State fracking regulation law might limit environmental reviews" was published by Daily Journal, September 27, 2013. Subscription required to access.