California will have the nation's toughest law to regulate and track fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, in the state. California Senate Bill Four was passed by the state assembly and senate and now awaits the governor's signature. As of now, there is widespread, unregulated and uncontrolled fracking in the state. But critics say the law is little better than doing nothing at all. Sen. Fran Pavley (D, Angora Hills) sponsored the bill that was passed on Sepember 16. So far, over 100 groups have released a letter stating that SB 4 is inadequate, according to a Sept. 19 Topix article.
While the bill is the toughest fracking regulation in the nation, it is also full of loopholes that would allow the oil and gas industry to create an explosion in fracking right away. A Sept. 20 Daily Kos article outlines the problems with SB 4.
Without, the bill, however, there would be no regulation or oversight at all. The problem is that no one knows how fracking would affect the state's environment. No one will know what is in the fracking fluid or where the enormous volume of fresh water will come from to support the water hungry mining method. Gov. Brown intends to build two massive tunnels to divert water from the state's fertile delta area. Given California's years long drought and the declining underground aquifers, that water diversion will support fracking.
There are also no provisions to compensate landowners or the state for lost property value, insurance and mortgage denials or environmental damage.
Meanwhile, Colorado faces a fracking disaster after the recent, catastrophic floods. California's central valley is prone to flooding that could create the same type of disaster.
The next step will be for Californians to start signing petitions so the issue can go to the voters next November. California's petition voting is a powerful tool in these situations.