Marten Law: California Issues Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Rule--Alaska and South Dakota Also Announce New Regulations

Marten Law: California Issues Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Rule--Alaska and South Dakota Also Announce New Regulations

   By Daniel K. Kolta, Associate, Marten Law PLLC

In the absence of comprehensive federal regulations governing hydraulic fracturing, several states have begun to adopt their own rules. In this Emerging Issues Analysis, Daniel Kolta of Marten Law PLLC discusses draft rules released by California in December 2012, including criticisms of same. He also covers amendments to South Dakota's oil and gas well regulations, and proposed amendments to Alaska's hydraulic fracturing rules.

Excerpt:

In the absence of comprehensive federal regulations governing hydraulic fracturing, several states have begun to adopt their own rules. In California, the Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources ("DOGGR") released draft rules in December 2012. At about the same time, the state of South Dakota proposed amendments to its oil and gas well regulations, which it then amended and adopted at a January 17, 2013 hearing. And, on December 20, 2012, Alaska's Oil & Gas Conservation Commission announced its own proposed amendments to its hydraulic fracturing rules.

Regulation of hydraulic fracturing in California promises to be particularly contentious, as California oil producers expand production in the nation's richest shale formations, the Monterey and Santos, amidst the vocal opposition of environmental groups. DOGGR is inviting comment on the draft rules announced in December, and has said it will initiate formal rulemaking in February 2013. Already, opponents of the proposed rules have declared their opposition to several aspects of the proposal.

In general, South Dakota's rule changes and California and Alaska's proposed rules target the same four core issues: (1) chemical disclosure; (2) potential water resource and water quality degradation; (3) well standards; and (4) regulatory enforcement and oversight.

Daniel K. Kotla is an associate in Marten Law PLLC's San Francisco's office. His practice focuses on environmental law and litigation, energy, and clean technology. Daniel has significant experience working with a variety of federal and state administrative agencies, and he has special expertise on endangered species and California water policy and supply issues.

Daniel earned his J.D. from University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2011 with Certificates in Environmental Law and Energy and Clean Technology Law. He was an editor with the Ecology Law Quarterly and recipient of the Dean Edley Public Interest Fellowship and the Professor Joseph Sax Public Interest Fellowship. Daniel also worked as senior legal researcher for a National Science Foundation team investigating critical infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with Highest Honors, from University of California, Berkeley in 2007.

After graduating from law school, Daniel served as Law Clerk to Chief Justice Barbara Madsen of the Washington State Supreme Court. His experience also includes internships with the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division, Office of the California Attorney General, California Energy Commission, and California Air Resources Board.

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