California governor signs fracking regulation bill

Sept. 25, 2013

Starting next year, companies that wish to develop the natural gas and oil reserves of California will have to apply for a permit not just for fracking operations but also for using various chemical substances to dissolve shale rock.

The state of California will have its first regulation on fracking as of January 2014, after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill last week, Reuters reported. The regulation will control and oversee extraction of natural gas and oil through hydraulic fracturing.

For a long time, fracking activity in the state was not regulated despite the fact that companies had been working on unlocking the vast deposits of fuel in the Monterey Shale formation. At the same time, campaigners opposing hydraulic fracturing have claimed that the technique was causing damage to the environment and polluting water reserves.

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Starting next year, companies that wish to develop the natural gas and oil reserves of California will have to apply for a permit not just for fracking operations but also for using various chemical substances, such as hydrofluoric acid, to dissolve shale rock. Companies will also be required to disclose the chemicals used in their fracking fluid and will have to provide notifications to residents in neighboring areas. In addition, operators must ensure that groundwater quality and air quality are regularly monitored and independent studies are carried out to confirm the safety of fracking operations, Reuters said.

Gov. Brown supports fracking in the state to a certain extent but explained that amendments to the bill will have to be made as early as next year. Although he did not specify what changes to the regulation he thinks are necessary, he confirmed that he was working with the author of the bill to clarify some aspects of the document.

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