DOGGR Issues Revised Well Stimulation Regulations

On June 13, 2014 the California Department of Conservation (DOC) sent out public notice of the latest version of the proposed regulations for the use of well stimulation in oil and gas production. The public notice marks the beginning of a 45-day period for the public to comment on the revisions and other documents being added to the rulemaking record (click here to see rulemaking documents). The Department will conduct five public hearings around the state to receive comments. 

“Well stimulation” practices are defined by Senate Bill 4 (Pavley, Ch 313, Stats of 2013) and include hydraulic fracturing and other treatments that increase the flow of oil and natural gas to wells and then to the surface for recovery. The regulations, which are to go into effect on January 1, 2015, are designed to protect health, safety, and the environment, and supplement existing strong well construction standards. They address a comprehensive list of issues, including testing, monitoring, public notice, and permitting. The text of the revised proposed regulations can be found here.

The proposed regulations are the product of a dozen public meetings to both solicit ideas on what the regulations ought to include and to receive comments on an unofficial "discussion draft" of regulations; extensive research of other states' regulations and of scientific studies; input from other regulatory agencies, the environmental community, and the oil and gas industry; and review of more than 150,000 public comments.

Effective January 1, 2014, the Department established interim regulations to govern oil and gas well stimulation treatment until the permanent regulations are completed and become effective. The Department is ensuring that these interim regulations continue until January 1, 2015. More information about the interim regulations -- including the text of the readopted interim regulations -- can be found  here.

DOC's implementation of SB 4 also includes:

  1. Development of an environmental impact report (EIR) by July 1, 2015. Find out more about the EIR development here.
  2. Web-based posting of public notices about well stimulation permits applied for and issued by the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. Find current well stimulation certifications here.
This Regulatory Alert was prepared by InterAct, an Acteon company, to advise our clients of impending deadlines and applicable regulatory requirements. No official agency policy is implied.  

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