The latest attempt in California to ban fracking and, in general, oil and gas operations in the state recently failed when Senate Bill No. 467 died in the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.  Senate Bill No. 467 sought to prohibit the issuance of permits for hydraulic fracturing, acid well stimulation treatment, steam flooding, water flooding, or cyclic steaming for the extraction of oil and gas beginning January 1, 2022.  The bill also sought to impose a mandatory 2,500-foot buffer between new oil and gas wells and sensitive receptors such as residences, schools, parks, and hospitals, which would have effectively prevented access to mineral rights in many areas of California.  The full text of the bill is available here.

On April 13, 2021, Senate Bill No. 467 failed to get the 5 votes needed to pass out of the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.  In a press release after the committee hearing, the bill sponsors noted “[w]hile we saw this effort defeated today, this issue isn’t going away.”  Industry should expect to see similar bills in the future, in particular, because Governor Newsom has asked the State Legislature to end the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024 when Newsom released a recent Executive Order related to reducing demand for fossil fuel.  Mandatory buffers will also likely be an issue in proposed public health regulations that will be released soon by the California Geologic Energy Management Division.

Michael Sherman contributed to this article.