On December 18, 2012, California’s Department of Conservation (Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources) issued a “discussion draft” of regulations that would govern hydraulic fracturing practices in the state.  Although DOC’s formal rulemaking process is not slated to begin until 2013, its discussion draft is intended to encourage comment and discussion between regulators and interested parties before that process begins. 

The draft regulations include requirements for pre-fracture well integrity testing, pre-fracture notice requirements, pre- and post-fracture monitoring, and chemical disclosure.  Under the rules, oil and gas well operators seeking to protect trade secrets would be required to demonstrate, among other things, that disclosure would compromise a significant economic advantage.  The draft regulations also would make spill reporting, response, and clean-up requirements clearly applicable to fracturing fluids.

The draft regulations and links for parties seeking to comment on them are available through the DOC’s website.  In the future, the DOC is also expected to announce public meetings through its dedicated hydraulic fracturing web page.  Media coverage of the draft rules can be found here, here, and here.