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California Instated Strictest Fracking Regulations in US

California implemented new hydraulic fracturing regulations Wednesday, making the state home to perhaps the strictest fracking rules in the nation 

California implemented new hydraulic fracturing regulations Wednesday, making the state home to perhaps the strictest fracking rules in the nation.

The regulations force increased transparency and accountability through expanded monitoring and reporting of air and water quality, public disclosure of chemicals used in fracking procedures, and estimates of the environmental impact fracking activities may cause.

The state legislature originally approved the rules in 2013, but Wednesday’s enactment formally cemented the sweeping regulations. In addition to the vast information required for public release, the new rules also extend permit requirements, creating additional costs for potential frackers.

Oil companies must notify neighbors of fracking sites and provide them with permits. After notification, the nearby property owners can subsequently request for a contractor to come test the water. The company doing the drilling must pay for that cost.

The regulations were adopted as the state’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources released a report concluding fracking “could, in a worst-case scenario, ‘generate greenhouse gas emissions that may have a significant impact on the environment,’” according to the LA Times. The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources is the agency in charge of enforcing the fracking regulations.

“It is concluded that the public remains severely divided on the subject of whether well stimulation treatments should be entirely prohibited at a statewide level, or if they should remain legal practices,” the report added.

Despite the regulations standing as the strictest in the U.S., environmental groups claim the state needs to go further.

The Center for Biological Diversity, a national environmental organization, released a statement Wednesday criticizing Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown for implementing the regulations prior to the release of a California study evaluating fracking risks.

“Gov. Brown has recklessly given fracking the thumbs up before scientists can finish studying this toxic technique,” Hollin Kretzmann said in the statement. “By refusing to ban dangerous oil extraction or even wait for scientists to finish evaluating the risks in our state, the governor is putting the people of California in harm’s way.”

Brown has clashed with environmental organizations before, refusing pushes for a statewide fracking ban, claiming natural gas produces lower carbon emissions than alternative energy sources while touting fracking’s economic benefits.

Source: dailysignal

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