Governor Signs Environmental Protection Bill from Oil & Gas Production
Source: Office of Rep. Limón
Governor Brown has signed Assembly Bills 1328 and 1197, authored by Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) to make the oil and gas production more responsive to the needs and goals of the state. AB 1328 gives California water agencies access to information on potentially hazardous chemicals used in oil and gas operations. AB 1197 will ensure their spill management teams are adequately trained and prepared in the event of an oil spill.
“After years of numerous legislative attempts with no success, I am grateful that California will now have AB 1328 and AB 1197 that increase environmental and water quality protections. AB 1328 and 1197 protect the health of our communities and environment by giving our regulatory bodies the information and tools they need,” said Limón. “By addressing the gaps in our environmental regulations, California is leading the way in safeguarding our water quality and public health.”
For decades, legislators in California have been working to obtain information on the chemicals present in wastewater from oil and gas production. 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. The information obtained through AB 1328 will help the water boards set appropriate requirements to ensure that potentially hazardous chemicals do not pose a risk of contaminating water supplies.
“While California already has strict environmental regulations for oil and gas production, we are taking additional steps to make it even safer,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Matthew Rodriquez. “By addressing a gap in our ability to obtain information about chemicals in oil and gas wastewater, this bill will enable the water boards to better protect water quality and public health.”
AB 1197 will establish a program within The Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to measure spill response capabilities and performance criteria for Spill Management Teams, which a potential responsible party may hire to manage an oil spill. While oil spill prevention and response has improved over the years, oil spills continue to occur in California and across the country, including the 2015 Refugio beach spill and 2016 Crimson pipeline spill in Ventura County.
OSPR has documented through numerous drills that some Spill Management Teams fail to adequately perform, endangering response employees and surrounding environment and communities.
“EDC supports AB 1197 because this measure will ensure that oil spill management teams have the qualifications necessary to effectively participate in oil spill response. We saw during the 2015 Refugio Oil Spill how important it is to make sure that all responders are adequately trained and experienced to ensure protection of the environment as well as worker safety. AB 1197 will address this need by authorizing the State Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to establish a spill management team certification program. We applaud Assemblymember Limón for passing this important legislation,” said Environmental Defense Center Chief Counsel Linda Krop.
AB 1197 was signed on October 9, 2017, and AB 1328 was signed on October 13, 2017. Both bills will become law on January 1, 2018.