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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wieckowski Flexes New Majority Powers With Latest Try At Regulating Fracking

ASSEMBLY | With Democrats holding two supermajorities in the California State Legislature, Fremont Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski’s reintroduction Monday of a bill regulating fracking could be the party’s first foray into testing their unfettered control of the levers of power in Sacramento.

Wieckowski introduced AB 7 on the first day of the new session in the Assembly. Like its predecessor, AB519, which died in committee last August, the bill would require companies utilizing hydraulic fracturing techniques, often termed “fracking,” to disclose the location where they use the procedure; in addition, to a specific list of chemicals they use to extract oil and natural gas out of the ground.

This latest iteration of Wieckowski’s bill also includes disclosure of how much water is injected into the ground to obtain the natural resources, along with a report from the State Division of Oil and Gas to the Legislature due by January 2016.

“The public has a right to know the type of chemicals that are being pumped underground in case there is a leak or contamination,” said Wieckowski on Monday. “Our state has done a poor job of collecting this important information and the public is demanding answers.”

A more far-reaching bill introduced last session by Assemblywoman Betsy Butler would have placed a moratorium on fracking in California. That bill was also held in committee last August. Although use of fracking is rare in California, nevertheless, geologists believe large deposits of oil and natural gas, easily extracted with its use, exists in the Central Valley.

In addition to Wieckowski’s newest legislation, State Sen. Fran Pavley, also introduced a fracking bill Monday. Pavley’s bill would enact regulations giving advanced public notice of fracking and, like Wieckowski’s bill; require disclosure of the chemicals used.

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