Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 18 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates in California, Minnesota and Wyoming. As we explained in earlier volumes, we designed the Roundup to provide quick overviews on state regulatory activity. If you have any questions on any of these summaries, please do not hesitate to ask.
California – A University of California Berkeley study found that neither California’s existing drilling regulation nor proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations are sufficient to ensure against the risks it associates with hydraulic fracturing. To fully protect against the potential hydraulic fracturing risks, the report recommended pre-fracture notification, waste tracking, chemical disclosure (without CBI protection), stronger protection for underground drinking water sources, well closure and monitoring requirements, tax exemptions for wastewater recycling, and prohibitions on discharges into publicly owned treatment works (POTW).
The report comes as the California Department of Conservation Division of Oil, Gas, & Geothermal Resources holds hearings on their proposed new hydraulic fracturing regulations. Those hearings have been drawing significant attention as environmentalists and some residents have sharply criticized the regulations for not allowing pre-fracture permitting and for allowing some chemical constituents of fracturing fluid to be protected as CBI.
Minnesota – In March, the St. Charles City Council rejected an annexation plan by Minnesota Proppant, LLC that would have allowed the company to build a $55-70 million frac-sand processing facility and add 50 new local jobs. Opponents cited groundwater and air quality concerns. Minnesota and Wisconsin are home to large formations of sands that are increasingly being tapped for use in the hydraulic fracturing industry.
Wyoming – Encana Oil and Gas obtained approval from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to begin construction of an underground injection well that will accept up to 750,000 gallons per day of wastewater from local drilling hydraulic fracturing operations. In approving the project, the commission found that the 15,000 foot deep aquifer utilized for injection was too deep to economically produce drinking water.