Jackson, Williams Introduce Fracking Bills

Look to Better Regulate Controversial Energy Extraction Technique

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Share Article

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblymember Das Williams have teamed up to introduce bills in their respective legislative houses that would regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial method of extracting gas and oil from the ground. The process typically involves blasting water, sand, and chemical additives into already drilled wells to further break up rock and release more gas and oil.

Jackson’s Senate Bill 395 would require the Department of Toxic Substances Control to define any byproduct fluids generated by fracking as hazardous waste. The regulation would create the authority to make sure appropriate precautions are taken in disposing of the fluids.

Williams introduced Assembly Bill 982 that would require companies that are fracking to monitor groundwater both before and after any fracking is done. “The oil and gas industry wants to greatly expand its presence in California, in my district and others,” Williams said in a statement. “We need to make sure their operations don’t compromise our critical groundwater supplies.”

The County of Santa Barbara became one of the first jurisdictions in the state to start closely monitoring the controversial practice, which has had minimal regulation at the state level. Two weeks ago, 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr traveled to Sacramento to testify in front of the State Senate committees on Natural Resources and Water and on Environmental Quality. Jackson was present at that meeting, as the committees heard from several state officials and stakeholders on the issue. The state is looking to reform and update its existing regulations as they relate to fracking in oil and gas production.

“Given the potential threat to our drinking water supplies, our public health, and our environment, we need to make sure there is proper oversight of the potentially toxic chemical brew that’s produced from fracking,” Jackson said in a statement.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

What about a severance tax on oil and gas extracted here? Why shouldn't we get some bucks out of the deal to offset oil and gas producers use of the commons ( roads,etc) and to cover water quality monitoring.
Also , where are all the millions of gallons of water , that are consumed in the fracking process , coming from? How is it that these oil & gas companies can find disposable water sources when the rest of us pay through the nose for our water? Something's fishy here.

geeber (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2013 at 10:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with Geeber. And even that Marxist Sarah Palin supports extraction taxes (in Alaska).

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2013 at 11:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

More taxes also mean more pain at the pump.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2013 at 4:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

No pain no gain, Botany? Should we just lift restrictions and regulations altogether, trusting that the oil and gas companies would pass the resulting savings on to the consumer? And then the bill for cleanup, if the mess they make can even be cleaned up?

I'm wondering why our two environmentally-oriented representatives aren't pressing to ban the practice of fracking completely in California. Forcing the companies to safely dispose of, or monitor ground water for, the very toxic byproducts of fracking will do us little good if our limited source of H2O does become contaminated.

Do they feel that they could never get enough support in the assembly and senate for a total ban on fracking, given the financial power of the oil and gas companies even over the Democratic representatives? Or that we absolutely have to make sopping up the last dregs of fossil fuel a priority over developing other sources of energy, or finding new ways to substantially reduce our overall energy use?

Progressives need to insist that our representatives stop moving the goal posts further to the right, in both Sacremento and Washington DC.

jonkwilliams (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2013 at 7:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Jonk - Your statements about fracking have no basis in fact. Fracking has proven to be a safe practice. Also, fracking has caused the price of natural gas to plummet over the last few years. Natgas is a clean burning fuel. Right now there are efforts underway to make fleets of long haul truck engines that use natural gas. This will have great beneficial effects to our environment. Your irrational hatred of all fuels fossil is affecting your judgment on this matter. Natural gas has great potential. Trucks that run on anything but fossil fuels at this point is not something that's likely to happen in the next 20 years or more. We should turn to clean burning natural gas for truck engines which can be developed almost immediately.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2013 at 7:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There is no basis for claiming that fracking is terrible. Please read something other than nutty information and instead read what actual geologists that are neither paid by the left or the oil companies think.
I'm still in shock over the thought of HBJ's boobs...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2013 at 8:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There is indeed a basis for having serious concerns about the health and safety effects of fracking. Only a boob would claim otherwise. A quick search comes up with several seemingly objective publications and credible arguments that indicate the need for concern about exactly how and where this type of energy extraction technology is implemented. While there are valid arguments on ‘both sides’ (see the Huff Post link below) the bottom line is there are valid reasons to be concerned about the negative effects of fracking. Here are few credible sources:

Scientific American (
“The debate over whether fracturing deep shale layers to release natural gas has reached fever pitch in the U.S., and scientists are speaking out. Using chemicals and water to crack a shale layer once, far below ground, to liberate gas may pose little risk to drinking water supplies near the surface. But fracking the layer multiple times from one well site, which is common, raises the chance that drinking water could be contaminated.”

Scientific American (
“EPA Finds Fracking Compound in Wyoming Aquifer”

Scientific American (
“Ohio Earthquake Likely Caused by Fracking Wastewater”

“It is "highly probable" that shale gas test drilling triggered earth tremors in Lancashire, a study has found.”

Huffington Post ( and
“While there are great risks to the fracking process, many argue there are also a number of potential benefits.
Below is a list of several arguments made by both sides, for and against hydraulic fracturing. Do the risks outweigh the rewards? Is this a practice not worth pursuing? You decide.”

The EPA (
“At the request of Congress, EPA is conducting a study to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water and ground water. The scope of the research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing.”

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2013 at 10:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's an objective article on fracking from an unbiased source.

I suggest everyone do their own reading on this, but take care where you get your information as there are many with political agendas that want to put their spin on this.

The most powerful fact that exists is the fact that there have been no documented cases of groundwater contamination from the underground fracking process.

The two documented cases of groundwater contamination were caused by a surface spillage of fracking fluid. Certainly care needs to be taken, but no one has proven that fracking done correctly is anything but completely safe.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2013 at 10:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The problem with fracking is that it is very hard to meter the gas that comes up with well water. Imagine all the people who will hook up their furnaces to their faucets and stop paying their gas bills.

dontoasthecoast (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2013 at 3:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh yeah , Botany , I have really seen my natural gas bill plummet because of the increased production.

geeber (anonymous profile)
March 2, 2013 at 5:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

That's a really silly statement. Just because the savings are not passed on by the gas company doesn't mean it's not happening. Here's a chart for natgas prices. If you want to blame the gas co. for not passing on the savings to you, that would be much more reasonable.

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 2, 2013 at 7:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Fracking is not a problem until your well water ignites at the tap.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
March 2, 2013 at 9:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany- "Also, fracking has caused the price of natural gas to plummet over the last few years"
Some people talk so much , they forget what they just said.

geeber (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 3:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

? When others talk, they make no sense whatsoever.

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 6:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: