Re "A fracking bill gone bad," Editorial, Sept. 12
As the author of SB 4, I would like to clarify how the bill would work.
Currently, fracking and acidizing occur in California without regulations or oversight. The bill requires an independent scientific study and mandates that oil companies obtain a permit before fracking and acidizing, notify neighbors, monitor groundwater and disclose all chemicals and well locations online.
The Times says that the bill "could exclude many fracking projects from meaningful environmental review." On the contrary, during the interim period while regulations are being finalized, projects may only continue if all the environmental protections of the bill are met in advance. The bill specifically states that the governor, the courts, state agencies and local governments are not pre-empted from requiring additional review or mitigation pursuant to other laws, regulations or orders.
The editorial also says SB 4 "could eliminate the governor's authority to issue a moratorium even if real dangers were found." In fact, the bill also preserves the authority of the governor, the courts, the California Department of Conservation, local governments and other agencies to further restrict fracking, including through a moratorium or a ban.
State Sen. Fran Pavley