Today's Law As Amended

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AB-3146 Oil and gas: well records and testing requirements.(2017-2018)



SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The Legislature has established a directive for the Department of Conservation to reduce the number of idle wells in California while also providing additional resources for the department to engage in plugging and abandoning of hazardous or idle-deserted wells.
(b) A reduction in the number of idle, hazardous, and idle-deserted wells in California may reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, toxic air pollution, and smog-forming gases in the state.
(c) The availability of low-cost, highly accurate emissions detection and quantification equipment and practices can (1) yield transparent data that can inform the statewide and local pollution inventories, (2) better quantify the impact of efforts to reduce idle, hazardous, and idle-deserted wells, and (3) provide additional evidence of proper well remediation.
(d) Many Californians live in close proximity to idle, hazardous, and idle-deserted wells and may be exposed to toxic air pollution.
(e) Many wells are remediated without sufficient air monitoring to detect possible unsafe air pollution emanating from wells, which poses a risk to workers and nearby residents.
(f) It is the intent of the Legislature to establish air monitoring requirements to protect vulnerable communities and workers as well as to evaluate the greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits of efforts to reduce idle, hazardous, and idle-deserted wells.

SEC. 2.

 Section 3206.4 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

3206.4.
 (a) For purposes of this section, “proximity well” means any well within one-fourth mile of any building intended for human occupancy that is not necessary to the operation of the well.
(b) (1) For any proximity well to be plugged and abandoned, including wells to be plugged and abandoned pursuant to an idle well management plan that is on file with the supervisor pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 3206, or required to be plugged and abandoned pursuant to the requirements of Section 3206.1, until January 1, 2025, the operator of the well shall do all of the following:
(A) Before the initiation of physical work to plug and abandon the well, have testing performed for leaks on any well and associated equipment, either (i) in accordance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency Reference Method 21, as set forth in Appendix A-7 to Part 60 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, (ii) by using an optical gas imaging instrument that is approved for use by the Executive Officer of the State Air Resources Board and that is operated by a technician with a certification or training in infrared theory, infrared inspections, and heat transfer principals, or (iii) in accordance with an alternative methodology developed pursuant to paragraph (4).
(B) If the well or associated equipment is found to release hydrocarbons in observable quantities using an optical imaging device or in concentrations greater than 1 percent by volume tested before the initiation of physical work, perform additional testing using a direct measurement method consisting of high-volume sampling, bagging, or a calibrated flow measuring instrument, to determine the flow rate and concentration of atmospheric emissions of total hydrocarbon pollutants before the initiation of physical work.
(C) Report the results of any tests performed pursuant to subparagraphs (A) and (B) or described in paragraph (2), if applicable, to the supervisor, including a description of the source of any detected emission.
(2) Any operator who, pursuant to federal, state, or local regulations, has conducted testing on a proximity well that meets the criteria included in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) within the three months before the start of physical work to plug and abandon the well shall be exempt from the requirements included in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) for that well.
(3) The performance of testing of wells pursuant to subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) shall be waived for any well deemed hazardous by the supervisor.
(4) The supervisor may, in consultation with the State Air Resources Board, develop alternative methodologies for testing undertaken pursuant to subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1).
(c) The supervisor shall ensure that the results received pursuant to subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) are posted on the division’s Internet Web site and transmitted to the State Air Resources Board as soon as reasonably possible after testing is performed.
(d) (1) The division and the State Air Resources Board shall jointly assemble and perform an appropriate analysis of all information received by the supervisor pursuant to this section for the purposes of determining the effectiveness and appropriateness of existing and planned measures to perform research on or control emissions from idle and abandoned oil and gas wells in the state.
(2) On or before December 31, 2025, the division and the State Air Resources Board shall make the results of the analysis performed pursuant to paragraph (1) available on their respective Internet Web sites.
(e) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2026, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 3.

 Section 3210 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

3210.
 The owner or operator of any well shall keep, or cause to be kept, a careful and accurate log, core record, and history of the drilling  drilling, maintenance, and repair  of the well.

SEC. 4.

 Section 3255.5 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

3255.5.
 (a) For any action ordered to be carried out, or undertaken, by the supervisor pursuant to Section 3255, for the purpose of abandonment or reabandonment of a well or for the purpose of remedying, mitigating, minimizing, or eliminating danger to life, health, and natural resources, until January 1, 2025, the supervisor shall do all of the following:
(1) Before the initiation of physical work to plug and abandon the well, perform testing of the well and associated equipment for leaks either (i) in accordance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency Reference Method 21, as set forth in Appendix A-7 to Part 60 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, (ii) by using an optical gas imaging instrument that is approved for use by the Executive Officer of the State Air Resources Board and that is operated by a technician with a certification or training in infrared theory, infrared inspections, and heat transfer principals, or (iii) in accordance with an alternative methodology developed pursuant to subdivision (b).
(2) If the well or associated equipment is found to release hydrocarbons in observable quantities using an optical imaging device or in concentrations greater than 1 percent by volume tested before the initiation of physical work, ensure additional testing is performed using a direct measurement method consisting of high volume sampling, bagging, or a calibrated flow measuring instrument, to determine the flow rate and concentration of atmospheric emissions of total hydrocarbon pollutants before the initiation of physical work.
(3) Ensure the results of any tests performed pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) are posted on the division’s Internet Web site and transmitted to the State Air Resources Board as soon as reasonably possible after testing is performed.
(b) The supervisor may, in consultation with the State Air Resources Board, develop alternative methodologies for testing undertaken pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a).
(c) The testing of wells pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) shall be waived for any well deemed hazardous by the supervisor.
(d) (1) The division and the State Air Resources Board shall jointly assemble and perform an appropriate analysis of all information described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) for the purposes of determining the effectiveness and appropriateness of existing and planned measures to perform research on or control emissions from idle and abandoned oil and gas wells in the state.
(2) On or before December 31, 2025, the division and the State Air Resources Board shall make the results of the analysis performed pursuant to paragraph (1) available on their respective Internet Web sites.
(e) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2026, and as of that date is repealed.
SEC. 5.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.