GUEST BLOG: Looking Forward on Hydraulic Fracturing In California

Note: This post originally appeared on the Western States Petroleum Association blog.

Senator Fran Pavley’s SB 4, passed in the final days of California’s 2013 legislative session, dramatically increases regulatory oversight of hydraulic fracturing in California. It passed out of the Assembly and Senate on September 11 after Governor Brown indicated through a spokesperson’s email late in the evening that he would sign the bill, calling the legislation “an important step.”

Now comes the hard work of trying to understand all of the ramifications of this sweeping legislation.  But one thing is crystal clear – California now has the most stringent and farthest reaching regulations of hydraulic fracturing and other oil and natural gas production technologies anywhere in the country and probably the world.

For oil and natural gas producers, there is a lot not to like in SB 4.  Energy production in California, already heavily regulated, will require more permits, more monitoring, more water testing, more disclosure and more notification of activities.

But SB 4 is a framework for a future that includes prudent and thoroughly regulated development of California’s energy resources.  And that is a future that continues to utilize technologies like hydraulic fracturing and acid stimulation that have proved to be safe and effective at bringing resources like the Monterey Shale to market.

Much remains to be worked out as SB 4 moves from legislation to regulation.  WSPA will remain fully engaged and supportive of those efforts to ensure the new law is applied in a balanced way that protects communities and fosters economic vitality.

The resources located below the San Joaquin Valley represent significant economic recovery opportunity for the entire state of California and a region plagued by alarmingly high unemployment. We can now get down to the job of developing resources that, in addition to providing abundant, reliable and affordable energy for consumers, has the potential to:

  • Create 512,000 to 2.8 million new jobs
  • Increase personal income by $40.6 billion to $222.3 billion
  • Generate additional local and state government revenues from $4.5 billion to $24.6 billion
  • Increase state GDP by 2.6% to 14.3% on a per-person basis

There is no longer a place in California for the emotion-fueled demands for a moratorium of hydraulic fracturing.  Continued demands for moratoria and other extreme measures have no audience in the Capitol.

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