On March 11, 2013, California State Senator Fran Pavley (D – Agoura Hills) introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 4, which the Senator herself had introduced on December 3, 2012, to further regulate hydraulic fracturing in California. Among other things, the amendment would (1) require the Secretary of the State Natural Resources Agency to conduct an extensive, independent and peer-reviewed scientific study of the potential hazards and risks that hydraulic fracturing treatments pose to natural resources and public, occupational, and environmental health and safety, and (2) preclude the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) from issuing hydraulic fracturing permits from and after January 1, 2015, until the study, including the peer review component, has been completed. While the fracking permit moratorium would not go into effect until 2015 and the amendment theoretically requires the study to be completed before that date, the extensive requirements of the study, including the peer review component, suggest that completion of the study may take considerably longer and thus result in a lengthy period during which fracking would not be allowed to occur. This bill is set for hearing on April 9 before the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.

We will continue to monitor and report on legislative and regulatory developments regarding hydraulic fracturing in California.