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AB-345 Natural resources: environmental justice: oil and gas: regulation of operations.(2019-2020)



Current Version: 01/23/20 - Amended Assembly         Compare Versions information image


AB345:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  January 23, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 29, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 03, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 26, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 345


Introduced by Assembly Member Muratsuchi

February 04, 2019


An act to add Section 12805.4 to the Government Code, and to add Section 3203.5 to the Public Resources Code, relating to oil and gas. natural resources.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 345, as amended, Muratsuchi. Oil and gas: operations: location restrictions. Natural resources: environmental justice: oil and gas: regulation of operations.
(1) Existing law establishes the Natural Resources Agency, composed of departments, boards, conservancies, and commissions responsible for the restoration, protection, and management of the state’s natural and cultural resources, under the supervision of an executive officer known as the secretary.
This bill would require the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to create an environmental justice program within the agency to identify and address any gaps in existing programs, policies, or activities that may impede the achievement of environmental justice. The bill, contingent upon funding for this purpose, would require the secretary to establish a grant-based reimbursement program to enable environmental justice and community groups to meaningfully participate in rulemaking and other regulatory processes at departments and entities within the agency. The bill would define environmental justice for these purposes.

Existing

(2) Existing law authorizes the Geologic Energy Management Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources in the Department of Conservation to regulate the drilling, operation, maintenance, and abandonment of oil and gas wells in the state. Existing law requires the operator of a well to file a written notice of intention to commence drilling with, and prohibits any drilling until approval is given by, the State Oil and Gas Supervisor or district deputy. Existing law requires an operator proposing to perform a well stimulation treatment to apply to the supervisor or district deputy for a permit to perform the well stimulation treatment and imposes other requirements and conditions on the use of well stimulation treatments. Under existing law, a person who fails to comply with this and other requirements relating to the regulation of oil or gas operations is guilty of a misdemeanor.
This bill would require, commencing January 1, 2020, all new oil and gas development or enhancement operation, as defined, that is not on federal land, to be located at least 2,500 feet from a residence, school, childcare facility, playground, hospital, or health clinic. The bill would authorize a city or county to require by ordinance that new oil and gas development or enhancement operation be located a larger distance away from a residence, school, childcare facility, playground, hospital, or health clinic than 2,500 feet. In the event that 2 or more cities and counties with jurisdiction over the same geographic area establish different health protection zone distances, the bill would require the larger health protection zone distance to apply. require the department to, on or before July 1, 2022, adopt regulations to protect public health and safety near oil and gas extraction facilities. The bill would require those regulations to include safety requirements and the establishment of a minimum setback distance between oil and gas activities and sensitive receptors such as schools, childcare facilities, playgrounds, residences, hospitals, and health clinics based on health, scientific, and other data, and would require the department to consider a setback distance of 2,500 feet at schools, playgrounds, and public facilities where children are present, and a range of other protective measures, including, but not limited to, enhanced monitoring and maintenance requirements. Because a violation of these provisions regulations would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would authorize an operator of an oil or gas well or a production facility subject to these provisions to file a written request, containing specified information, with the division for a variance to reduce the health protection zone to the maximum achievable distance, and would authorize the supervisor to grant a variance upon making a written finding that the operator has no other feasible means of accessing a legal subsurface right, that the variance provides as much distance between sensitive receptors and those oil and gas operations as achievable, and that the variance would not endanger public health and safety. The bill would require the department to comply with certain consultation and public participation requirements before adopting the regulations, as provided. The bill would require the department to, on or before January 1, 2022, provide an update on the status of the rulemaking process and a description of the regulations being considered to the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.

The

(3) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 12805.4 is added to the Government Code, to read:

12805.4.
 (a) The Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency shall create an environmental justice program within the Natural Resources Agency to identify and address any gaps in existing programs, policies, or activities that may impede the achievement of environmental justice.
(b) Contingent upon funding for this purpose, the secretary shall establish a grant-based reimbursement program to enable environmental justice and community groups to meaningfully participate in rulemaking and other regulatory processes at departments and entities within the agency.
(c) For purposes of this section, “environmental justice” has the same meaning as in Section 65040.12.

SEC. 2.

 Section 3203.5 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

3203.5.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that it is vital that populations and residents impacted by oil and gas extraction activities have equitable access to, and can meaningfully contribute to, decisionmaking processes that address impacts related to oil and gas extraction activities.
(b) (1) On or before July 1, 2022, the department shall adopt regulations to protect public health and safety near oil and gas extraction facilities.
(2) (A) The regulations shall include safety requirements and the establishment of a minimum setback distance between oil and gas activities and sensitive receptors such as schools, childcare facilities, playgrounds, residences, hospitals, and health clinics based on health, scientific, and other data. The department shall consider a setback distance of 2,500 feet at schools, playgrounds, and public facilities where children are present.
(B) The department shall consider including in the regulations a range of other protective measures, including, but not limited to, enhanced monitoring and maintenance requirements.
(c) (1) Before adopting regulations pursuant to subdivision (b), the department shall consult with environmental, environmental justice, and public health advocates, as well as public health authorities, including the State Department of Public Health, the California Environmental Protection Agency, local air quality management districts, the state and regional water boards, and other health experts.
(2) In developing the regulations, the department shall incorporate the best available existing health and safety science and data, and community-based expertise.
(3) In developing the regulations, the department shall consult with the State Air Resources Board and incorporate expertise and data from the State Air Resources Board’s ongoing monitoring program.
(d) Before adopting regulations pursuant to subdivision (b), the department shall conduct at least four prerulemaking workshops. These workshops shall occur in regions near oil and gas operations at a time and place accessible to local residents. Measures to increase the accessibility of workshops shall include, but are not limited to, evening and weekend workshops, translation of all materials, and simultaneous interpretation of oral presentations and testimony.
(e) (1) On or before January 1, 2022, the department shall provide an update on the status of the rulemaking process and a description of the regulations being considered to the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.
(2) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under paragraph (1) is inoperative on January 1, 2026, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.

SEC. 3.

 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.
SECTION 1.Section 3203.5 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:
3203.5.

(a)The Legislature finds and declares both of the following:

(1)Proximity to oil and gas extraction, including the use of hydraulic fracturing, well acidization, and other nonconventional oil and gas extraction techniques, adversely impacts public health and safety.

(2)These adverse impacts are reduced by locating oil and gas operations away from sensitive receptors such as schools, childcare facilities, playgrounds, residences, hospitals, and health clinics.

(b)For purposes of this section, both of the following definitions apply:

(1)“Enhancement operations” means operations intended to increase the hydrocarbon production of an oil and gas well. Those enhancement operations shall include well stimulation treatments, acid well stimulation treatments, and restoring a plugged and abandoned well or an idle well into production, and shall not include repairs or well maintenance work.

(2)“Oil and gas development” means exploration for, and drilling, production, and processing of, oil, gas, or other gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons.

(c)Except as provided in subdivisions (d) and (e), and notwithstanding any other law, commencing January 1, 2020, all new oil and gas development or enhancement operation permitted under this division, that is not on federal land, shall be located at least 2,500 feet from a residence, school, childcare facility, playground, hospital, or health clinic.

(d)Except as provided in subdivision (e), a city or county may require by ordinance that new oil and gas development or enhancement operation be located a larger distance away from a residence, school, childcare facility, playground, hospital, or health clinic than required by subdivision (c). In the event that two or more cities and counties with jurisdiction over the same geographic area establish different health protection zone distances, the larger health protection zone distance shall apply.

(e)Notwithstanding subdivisions (c) and (d), an operator of an oil or gas well or a production facility subject to this section may file a written request with the division for a variance to reduce the health protection zone to the maximum achievable distance. The request shall include competent, substantial, and relevant evidence demonstrating that the applicable health protection zone would extend beyond the area on which the operator has a legal right to locate the oil or gas well or production facility and that the variance would be consistent with the intent of this section and protect public health and safety. The supervisor may grant a variance upon making a written finding that the operator has no other feasible means of accessing a legal subsurface right, that the variance provides as much distance between sensitive receptors and those oil and gas operations as achievable, and that the variance would not endanger public health and safety.

(f)For the duration of a permit lawfully issued pursuant to this division before January 1, 2020, this section shall not apply to oil and gas development or enhancement operations conducted pursuant to the permit and that are in compliance with all applicable requirements for the duration of the permit.

SEC. 2.

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.