Fracking Bills Fail in California Legislature

Since February 2011, the California legislature has been considering two bills that would regulate hydraulic fracturing operations throughout the state.

AB 591 would require operators to disclose fracking activities and the contents of all fracking fluids, subject to exemptions for proprietary and/or trade secret information. 

AB 972 would impose a moratorium on all fracking operations in the state pending adoption of regulations being developed by the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. 

This week both bills failed to make it out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, effectively killing both bills for the current legislative session, if not permanently. 

AB 972 was strongly opposed by industry and found little or no support from the Brown administration. 

This lack of support was due in part to the estimate that, if enacted, the moratorium would cost the state approximately $9 million in delayed or lost revenues. 

In essence, by placing these proposed bills into the Senate’s Appropriations Suspense File, the legislature has simply deferred to the Department of Conservation regulation of all oil and gas activities in California, including hydraulic fracturing.

This article was prepared by Barclay Nicholson ( / 713 651 3662) from Fulbright's Energy Law Practice.