Limón Bill Will Require Chemical Transparency in Oil and Gas Wells

Monday, April 24, 2017

SACRAMENTO – In order to provide more transparency and accountability to the public, Assembly Bill 1328, a bill by Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), requires quarterly disclosure of chemicals used in oil and gas operations, just passed its first legislative hurdle in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.

Oil and gas companies are currently required to report the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” but do not have to report chemicals used for other oil and gas operations. These other operations account for the majority of all oil and gas production in California.

“Californians deserve to know the chemicals used in and around our communities for oil and gas extraction,” said Limón. “The same chemicals used in fracking are also present in the majority of other operations, but are not reported. Without transparent chemical information we cannot work to reduce any of the environmental, occupational and public health hazards and risks associated with oil and gas extraction.” 

AB 1328 includes a quarterly chemical report on activities such as drilling, well maintenance, routine acidizing and well completions. The bill would also require the State Water Resources Control Board or appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board to use this information and revise, as necessary, water quality standards for issuing permits for surface discharge of oil field produced water. 

“It's vital for oil companies to disclose the chemicals it uses so the state has the appropriate information to ensure California’s water is safe and can better manage oil and gas production,” said Keith Nakatani, the Oil and Gas Program Manager for Clean Water Action. "This is important first-of-its-kind legislation.”

Just last week,  PSE Healthy Energy released a study showing that hazardous chemicals go unregulated in routine oil and gas operations. This research identified 22 chemicals on the California Toxic Air Contaminant List, 12 were on the California Proposition 65 list, and 10 were on the US EPA Drinking Water Standards and Health Advisories List.

“We found that it was difficult to assess the potential impact of oil field wastewater on human health and the environment in part because there is no complete, publicly available dataset giving the identity and amount of chemicals used in oil and gas development,” said Dr. Laura Feinstein, an author of the study on well stimulation commissioned by the California Natural Resources Agency.

This bill is sponsored by Clean Water Action and Environmental Working Group, and has the support of the California League of Conservation Voters, Central CA Environmental Justice Coalition, Environmental Defense Center, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club California, among others.

Monique Limón currently serves as an Assembly Assistant Majority Whip. She represents the 37th Assembly District which includes Santa Barbara, Ventura, Goleta, Carpinteria, Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Buellton, Solvang, Summerland, Isla Vista, Montecito and parts of Oxnard.

 

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For Immediate Release
Monday, April 24, 2017

Contact: Denise Tugade (916) 319-2037 or Denise.Tugade@asm.ca.gov