BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1882


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          Date of Hearing:  April 20, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                               Lorena Gonzalez, Chair


          AB  
          1882 (Williams) - As Introduced February 11, 2016


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill requires the State Water Resources Control Board  
          (SWRCB), or the appropriate regional water quality control board  
          (RWQCB) to review and concur with any Underground Injection  
          Control (UIC) project subject to review or approval.  This bill  








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          allows SWRCB, or the appropriate RWQCB to propose additional  
          requirements for a project, including groundwater monitoring.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)Increased expenditure authority and ongoing costs of $2.1  
            million for SWRCB to fund 15 positons (Oil, Gas, and  
            Geothermal Administrative Fund) to ensure existing UIC  
            projects are operating in conformance with the federal Safe  
            Drinking Water Act and state laws and regulations. 


            According to SWRCB, the extensive technical review will  
            include somewhere in the vicinity of 30,000 wells to determine  
            if each injection project is protective of current and future  
            beneficial uses of groundwater.  These project-by-project  
            reviews are technically complex and may require between 30 to  
            60 hours each.  


            The reviews may include evaluating the Division of Oil, Gas  
            and Geothermal Resources' (DOGGR) assessment as well as  
            verifying the injection project is protective of water quality  
            in the area. 


          2)Minor absorbable DOGGR costs.
          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose.  Last year's resources budget trailer bill (SB 83)  
            requires the Secretary for Environmental Protection (CalEPA)  
            and the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency (NRA) to  
            appoint an independent review panel to evaluate DOGGR's  
            administration of the UIC Program and consider whether it  
            would be beneficial to transfer the program to SWRCB. This  
            evaluation is required to be completed on or before January 1,  








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            2018.


            The joint project review in this bill is consistent with the  
            review process outlined in SB 83.  However, this bill is an  
            alternative approach to transferring the UIC program to SWRCB.


          2)Background.  In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act gave the US  
            EPA the authority and responsibility to control underground  
            injection to protect underground drinking water sources.  In  
            1982, a primacy agreement was signed that allowed DOGGR to  
            implement the US EPA's UIC program for oil and gas wells in  
            California.  



            In 2014, it was discovered that there were two versions of  
            this agreement, one allowing exemptions for 11 aquifers with  
            high water quality and another denying those exemptions and  
            requiring all existing injection wells into those aquifers be  
            phased out over 18 months.  DOGGR's UIC permitting decisions  
            have been based on the assumption that these exemptions were  
            granted for the 11 aquifers in question. 





            The discovery of the two different versions of agreement led  
            to numerous federal and state responses and legislative  
            directives.





            Currently, the SWRCB is reviewing and commenting on UIC  
            projects.  It has requested more data on some projects and has  








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            indicated it will work with DOGGR to incorporate groundwater  
            monitoring in others.  However, it is unclear whether this  
            will be a permanent arrangement or until US EPA's concerns  
            with the program have been addressed.  This bill codifies the  
            agreement.





          3)Support and Opposition.  This bill is supported by numerous  
            water agencies, public health and environmental groups, and  
            local governments to ensure groundwater safety.



            The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), California  
            Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA), California Chamber  
            of Commerce (CalChamber), and California Manufacturers and  
            Technology Association oppose this bill claiming  it will  
            create a confusing and duplicative underground injection  
            permit process that will only lead to time-consuming and  
            costly legal challenges without providing any additional  
            environmental and groundwater protections beyond those already  
            provided under existing law. 





          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081















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