Oil regulators to hold public meetings on fracking

Homes along Onacrest Drive in the Windsor Hills neighborhood of unincorporated L.A. County are above the Inglewood Oil Field.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

SACRAMENTO -- State oil regulators have scheduled a series of public meetings to explain the Brown administration’s proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing.

The draft regulations, which were released in December, represent California’s first attempt to govern the controversial drilling process known as fracking.

The daylong meetings are set for Wednesday in Bakersfield and March 21 in Sacramento.


Although the proposed rules would require energy companies to disclose many of the chemicals they inject deep into the ground to break apart rock and release oil, some lawmakers and environmentalists have said the regulations should go further, including advance notice to nearby landowners and water monitoring around fracking operations.

Oil companies say they have used the technology safely for decades in California. Representatives from the energy industry support reporting requirements but are pushing provisions that would allow them to keep secret certain chemicals that they consider to be proprietary.

In a statement, Tim Kustic, the state’s oil and gas supervisor, said the proposed fracking rules were “an addition to a large body of law and regulation already in place” governing oil and gas production.

“All wells must be constructed to robust construction standards,” he said. “Those regulations have been in place for many decades and they ensure against environmental harm.”

Still, much of the anxiety around fracking stems from the lack of information regulators have about the use of the procedure here.

Unlike other oil-producing states, California does not require oil companies to disclose where they use the procedure or what chemicals they inject into the ground. The rule-making process could take more than a year.


For more information on the public meetings, visit the website of the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources.


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