SACRAMENTO, CA - Proposed regulations announced Tuesday to monitor hydraulic fracturing in California may still be a year or more from implementation.
Under pressure from environmental groups and legislators in recent months, the Brown Administration has issued proposed guidelines to oversee fracking by oil companies.
The guidelines call for disclosure of well locations and the chemicals used in the fracking process, which involves injecting water into the ground under high pressure to shatter shale rock in order to release oil so it can be pumped to the surface.
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"We will know about all of the hydraulic fracturing operations," Department of Conservation spokesperson Don Drysdale said. "... operators would have to report to us ... ensuring that the fracturing operations will not and did not damage their wells or the geologic formations that protect sources of groundwater from hydrocarbon reservoirs."
Environmental groups said guidelines are needed to let the public know and for the state to monitor potentially dangerous chemicals injected during the fracking process.
"A lot of toxic chemicals that they inject to facilitate the extraction of these hydrocarbons, they're known to the state of California to cause cancer," said Bill Allayaud, Director of Governmental Affairs for Environmental Working Group in Sacramento.
Environmental groups hailed the proposed regulations as a first step.
Other experts said the risk of seismic activitiy from fracking is important to address in California, a state already filled with dangerous fault lines.
"I think there should be a serious consideration of not allowing high-pressure hydrofracking near active faults," UC Davis geologist Don Turcotte said.
The Department of Conservation acknowledges a final draft of the proposed regulations may be at least a year away.
By Dave Marquis, @DDMarquis