SB 4 Approved By Assembly Appropriations Committee

The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted 12-5 Friday, August 30, to approve Senate Bill 4 (Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills), clearing the way for the full Assembly to vote on regulations for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), acidizing and other oilfield practices.

SB 4 would require permits for fracking, acidizing and other oil well stimulation practices. It would also require notification of neighbors, public disclosure of all chemicals used, groundwater and air quality monitoring, and an independent scientific study. Continue reading

Whittier and Conservation Agency Agree on Oil Drilling Project

The City of Whittier will give about $11 million a year in oil revenues to a conservation agency under an agreement aimed at settling litigation over development of a small parcel located within an area designated as a nature preserve.

The settlement, announced on August 15, must be approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, where its prospects are uncertain.

The deal was reached between city and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, a regional government entity that works to preserve open space and wildlife. Continue reading

PG&E Deploys Mobile Detectors To Spot Methane Leaks

Natural gas is far “greener” than coal and other fossil fuels, but environmentalists worry that leaks of methane – a powerful contributor to global warming – may offset the climate benefits of natural gas.

A car-mounted system that can detect leaks of methane from pipelines and other sources is being deployed by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to monitor its 45,000 miles of pipelines. The system is manufactured by Piccaro, Inc., of Santa Clara. Continue reading

BLM to Assess Oil and Gas Leasing in California

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced the launch of a statewide scientific assessment of oil and gas development in California, including an in-depth environmental study of fracking and other oil and gas projects.

The BLM says the outcome of its assessment could establish additional environmental protections on those parcels.

This announcement followed a federal court decision holding that the BLM violated environmental law by auctioning off the rights to extract oil on 2,500 acres of public lands in Monterey County. Continue reading

Department of Energy: Fracking Does Not Contaminate Water Supply

The Associated Press reports that the latest federal study on hydraulic fracturing is corroborating other recent studies showing no evidence that chemicals used in the drilling process for natural gas have contaminated drinking water supplies.

The current study was undertaken by the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh for the Department of Energy. At a drilling site in western Pennsylvania, drilling fluids were tagged with unique markers that allowed scientists to monitor possible percolation up to the shallow regions, near the water table. Continue reading