Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 48 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates in California, Colorado, and Kansas. 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 – Two environmental activist groups have filed a notice of intent to sue the federal government for allowing the use of hydraulic fracturing to stimulate production at oil and gas wells located off the coast of southern California. The groups allege that the Interior Department failed to consult with other relevant agencies, specifically the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), about anticipated impacts to 25 species of endangered and threatened wildlife when it drafted its programmatic environmental assessment. Two Interior agencies, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), issued a finding of “no significant impact” in May for fracking techniques used off the coast of California. The environmental assessment and finding were prepared to comply with the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Environmental Defense Center.
Colorado – A study conducted by the University of Colorado’s Business Research Division has found that Initiative 78, a proposed ballot initiative that would implement a 2,500-foot setback requirement for new oil and gas wells, could cause the loss of 54,000 jobs in five years. The study, which was commissioned by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., also projected that Colorado’s gross domestic product would be reduced by an average of $7.1 billion in each of the measure’s first five years of effectiveness. The proposal, if approved, would forbid new oil and gas production on 95% of the land in the top five petroleum-producing counties (Weld, Garfield, La Plata, Rio Blanco, and Las Animas). Supporters of the measure turned in a petition with the required signatures to place the measure on the Nov. 8 ballot, and that petition is in the process of being certified by the Secretary of State.
Kansas – The Kansas Corporation Commission has expanded its restrictions on wastewater injection wells in an order issued August 9. The order expands the area of injection restrictions to include all of Harper and Sumner counties and parts of Kingman, Sedgwick, and Barber counties. Parts of Harper and Sumner counties were the focus of the earlier order. The new order does not alter the 8,000 barrels per day injection limit for areas of “seismic concern” in Harper and Sumner counties, but it does cut the allowable injection rate for larger wells elsewhere, from 25,000 barrels a day to 16,000 barrels a day. The limit of 25,000 barrels a day for the northwestern corner of Harper County and the eastern half of Sumner County will remain unchanged.