BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1501


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          Date of Hearing:  April 27, 2015


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES


                                 Das Williams, Chair


          AB 1501  
          (Rendon) - As Amended April 21, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Well stimulation treatments:  emissions


          SUMMARY:  Requires air districts to establish an emission  
          standard for methane from well stimulation treatments and other  
          petroleum extraction facilities. Requires the emission standard  
          to include a permit requirement and consideration of the effect  
          production facilities have on adjacent vulnerable populations.  
          Requires the Air Resources Board (ARB) or a local air district  
          to install monitoring stations near any approved well  
          stimulation site and other petroleum extraction facilities to  
          monitor for 12 different chemicals. 


          EXISTING LAW: 


          1)Requires the Department of Conservation's Division of Oil,  
            Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to regulate oil and gas  
            wells, tanks, and facilities attendant to oil and gas  
            production.

          2)Establishes, pursuant to SB 4 (Pavley, Chapter 313, Statutes  
            of 2013), a comprehensive, multi-agency regulatory program for  
            oil and gas well stimulation treatments (e.g., hydraulic  
            fracturing, acid matrix stimulation).  Establishes DOGGR as  








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            the lead agency for the multi-agency regulatory program.

          3)Requires, on or before January 1, 2015, the Secretary of the  
            Natural Resources Agency to conduct and complete an  
            independent scientific study on well stimulation treatments,  
            including, but not limited to, hydraulic fracturing and acid  
            well stimulation treatments. 

          4)Requires the scientific study to evaluate the hazards and  
            risks and potential hazards and risks that well stimulation  
            treatments pose to natural resources and public, occupational,  
            and environmental health and safety, including potential  
            degradation of air quality.

          5)Requires, on or before January 1, 2015, DOGGR, in consultation  
            with the Department of Toxic Substances Control, ARB, the  
            State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the Department of  
            Resources Recycling and Recovery, and any local air districts  
            and regional water quality control boards in areas where well  
            stimulation treatments, including acid well stimulation  
            treatments and hydraulic fracturing treatments, may occur, to  
            adopt rules and regulations specific to well stimulation  
            treatments. 
          6)Provides ARB with the primary responsibility for the control  
            of vehicular air pollution, and air pollution control and air  
            quality management districts with the primary responsibility  
            for the control of air pollution from all sources other than  
            vehicular sources.


          7)Requires the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to open a  
            proceeding to adopt rules and procedures that minimize methane  
            leaks from PUC-regulated gas pipeline facilities, with the  
            goal of reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.


          










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          THIS BILL: 


          1)Requires air districts to establish an emission standard for  
            methane from well stimulation treatment and other petroleum  
            extraction facilities.


          2)Requires air districts to issue permits or another regulatory  
            document to an owner or operator to enforce the emission  
            standard created pursuant to this bill.


          3)Specifies that the emission standard shall include  
            requirements on the owner or operator to monitor the well  
            stimulation treatment for methane leaks.


          4)Requires air districts, when adopting the emission standard,  
            to consider the effects of production facilities on adjacent  
            vulnerable populations, including but not limited, to  
            school-age children and the elderly.


          5)Requires ARB or local air districts to install monitoring  
            stations near any approved well stimulation site and other  
            petroleum extraction facilities to monitor for 12 specified  
            chemicals. 


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  


          1)Author's statement.










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               Oil and gas extraction activities, including fracking  
               activities, emit air pollutants. This problem has been  
               identified from a number of sources - a recent Clean  
               Water Action report and developing DOGGR regulations.  
               But the problem does not appear to be receiving the  
               urgent attention it needs. The fracking regulations,  
               for example, just suggest that the extraction  
               operation obtain a permit if the local air district  
               requires one. The Southern California Air Quality  
               Management District (AQMD) does some monitoring of  
               fracking, but neither AQMD nor other air districts set  
               emissions standards or require permits for oil and gas  
               extraction. DOGGR and the air districts are doing  
               little to address this problem.


          2)Methane regulation.  Methane is a potent contributor to  
            climate change that produces 34 times the warming impact than  
            the same amount of carbon dioxide. As stated above, DOGGR's  
            regulation requires compliance with all applicable  
            requirements by ARB or a local air district. ARB is in the  
            initial stages of drafting regulations to control methane at  
            new and existing oil and natural gas facilities. These  
            statewide standards will apply to all of California's air  
            districts and will encompass well stimulation, while achieving  
            co-benefits that protect public health from toxic emissions  
            from well stimulation or other sector sources. AB 1501 would  
            inform that process by requiring the standard to meet certain  
            criteria. This is similar to SB 1371 (Leno), Chapter 525,  
            Statutes of 2014, which put requirements on the PUC for  
            reducing methane emissions from the natural gas industry. SB  
            1371 is currently being implemented at the PUC. On March 18,  
            2015, the PUC released a staff report that identifies best  
            practices and new technologies in natural gas leak detection. 


          3)Schools and oil production.  In November of 2014, a nonprofit  
            environmental organization called FracTracker reported that  
            more than 350,000 California children go to schools within a  








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            mile of an oil or gas well. They also stated that the top 11  
            school districts with the most wells are in the San Joaquin  
            Valley, with 10 of those in Kern County. In Kern County, the  
            Taft High School District has more than 33,000 wells in their  
            jurisdiction, and Kern Union High School District has more  
            than 19,000 wells in their jurisdiction. The report stated  
            that students attending school within 1 mile of oil and gas  
            wells are predominantly non-white (79.6%), and 60.3% are  
            Hispanic. In response to the report the Western States  
            Petroleum Association stated, "Hydraulic fracturing and other  
            well stimulation techniques are of little to no concern to  
            public health." AB 1501 requires the new emission standard to  
            consider the effects of production facilities on adjacent  
            vulnerable populations, including but not limited to  
            school-age children and the elderly.





          4)Related legislation.  


          SB 454 (Allen) prohibits DOGGR from submitting a proposal for an  
          aquifer exemption to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  
          (U.S. EPA) unless DOGGR and SWRCB concur in writing that the  
          aquifer meets specified conditions. This bill is awaiting a  
          hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on  
          April 28.


          SB 545 (Jackson) revises and updates DOGGR's authority and  
          permitting practices and reforms the handling of confidential  
          wells.  This bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Natural  
          Resources and Water Committee on April 28.


          SB 248 (Pavley) requires DOGGR to review and update its  
          regulations, data management practices, and enhance required  








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          reporting. This bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate  
          Appropriations Committee.


          AB 1490 (Rendon) prohibits well stimulation, and in some cases,  
          wastewater disposal in areas that are seismically active or have  
          recently had an earthquake. This bill will also be heard by this  
          committee on April 27.


          AB 1420 (Salas) requires a local health officer, if notified of  
          a leak in a pipeline regulated by DOGGR, to direct the  
          responsible party to test soil, air, and water and based on the  
          test results make an assessment of the risk to the public. If  
          the leak poses a risk to the public, requires the local health  
          officer to notify residents affected by the leak of the threat  
          and provide assistance to the public. This bill will also be  
          heard by this committee on April 27.


          AB 356 (Williams) requires, prior to submitting a proposal to  
          exempt an aquifer to U.S. EPA, that DOGGR hold a public hearing  
          and gain concurrence from SWRCB on the proposal. This bill also  
          requires groundwater monitoring plans for underground injection  
          projects as part of an application for approval of the project  
          or for the annual review of the project. This bill will also be  
          heard by this committee on April 27.



          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Association of Irritated Residents








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          California Communities Against Toxics


          California League of Conservation Voters


          Center on Race, Poverty & The Environment


          Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community


          Clean Water Action


          Clean Water and Air Matter


          Coalition for Clean Air


          Earthworks


          Environmental Working Group


          Environment California 


          Fresnans Against Fracking


          Mainstreet Moms


          National Parks Conservation Association








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          Save the Sespe


          Sierra Club California




          Opposition


          California Independent Petroleum Association


          Western States Petroleum Association 




          Analysis Prepared by:Michael Jarred / NAT. RES. / (916) 319-2092