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Bill To Regulate 'Fracking' Clears State Senate Committee

Apr 9, 2013

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Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Some lawmakers say California is not doing enough to regulate hydraulic fracturing or fracking for oil and gas. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, a bill designed to tighten regulations passed its first legislative test today.

The fracking process shoots a mix of chemicals and water deep underground to extract oil. Environmentalists say it can endanger public health and contaminate water. New legislation would require more scientific study of the process, set up a permit system, and require the oil industry to disclose chemicals it uses. Rock Zierman is with the California Independent Petroleum Association.

“We don’t have a problem to study this further but we’ve seen this tactic used in other states, particularly in New York where they’ve been working on this study for four years, so it becomes a de facto moratorium.This is one of the most studied industrial practices on the face of the earth,” says Zierman.

The oil industry says the legislation isn’t needed because a regulatory process is already underway through California’s Division of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources. But supporters say the agency isn’t doing enough.  The legislation passed one Senate committee and now heads to another committee.