The focus on regulation of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has increased in California during recent months. The Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) has been holding workshops for interested parties to discuss Governor Brown’s discussion draft of proposed regulations, which would, among other things, require operators of fracking wells to report the chemicals used in and location of their wells. However, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (“SCAQMD”) has moved ahead and adopted the state’s first new fracking regulation.
On April 5, 2013, in the culmination of a process that began in September of 2012, SCAQMD passed Rule 1148.2, which establishes notification and reporting requirements for both oil and gas well operators and those who supply chemicals to drilling operations. The rule covers general notification requirements, emission reporting, chemical use reporting for chemical suppliers, chemical use reporting for operators, and public disclosure of reported information via SCAQMD’s website. Among Rule 1148.2’s new requirements are:
In contrast to the proposed DOGGR regulations, Rule 1148.2 requires operators and suppliers to report all chemicals used for drilling or sold to an operator, regardless of whether the reporting entity considers them to be trade secret. For each well event, the SCAQMD will report, on its website, all non-trade secret chemicals and chemical ingredients, as well as trade secret chemical families used and whether any ingredient within the trade secret family is an air toxic.
SCAQMD’s Board will convene a working group to discuss the results of the emissions and chemical use data within six months of collecting the first emissions report, and SCAQMD staff will report on the status of data collection and notification within two years to determine whether new or additional rules are needed.
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This article was originally published by Bingham McCutchen LLP.