TN Fracking Standards
Tennessee’s Department of Environment and Conservation proposed rules May 4 that would subject oil and gas companies to new requirements covering fracking activities in the state. The proposed changes, which stemmed from environmental groups’ requests for tighter standards, include a requirement that a 15-day public notice and comment period be provided for every new well that would use more than 200,000 gallons of water in the fracking process, as well as one that would require drilling plans to include a statement of the intent to fracture a well and the volume of fluids to be used.
California’s Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources released a road map May 3 outlining its plan to re-examine the state’s oversight of underground injection wells to better protect drinking water supplies and workers. The regulators are planning to propose new fracking regulations by the end of the summer. The agency will hold a series of public workshops to gather input for the new regulations and will commission an independent study of the impact of fracking in the state.
California’s $100 Million for Green Vehicles
On May 9, the California Energy Commission approved a plan to encourage development and use of biofuels, hydrogen cell fueling, electric charging stations, etc., and will allocate $100 million over fiscal year 2012-2013 for the project. The commission will draw on funds provided for by the state's 2007 A.B. 118 program, or the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The program is partially funded through vehicle and vessel registration, license, and environmental fees.
CA Bill Passes Expediting Utility Scale Solar Approval
On May 10, the California legislature approved AB 1073, expediting the approval of a Mojave Desert utility-scale solar-power project, the 663 MW K Road Calico Solar Project, slated for construction on public lands and staunchly opposed by environmentalists. The bill will be sent to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), and would hand all of the local and state permitting and review processes to the California Energy Commission.
CARB Rules Align with Quebec
On May 9, the California Air Resources Board released proposed changes to the economy-wide emissions trading program begun in January, which will all work to create a joint carbon market with Quebec. Quebec is a member of the Western Climate Initiative, along with British Columbia and Ontario, but other provinces have backed away from the cap-and-trade scheme recently. CARB’s emissions trading scheme is set to begin in 2013, the same year as Quebec’s similar program.