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California | Environment & Forest Defense

DOGGR Well Stimulation Regulations Additional Language And Aquifer Exemptions
by Tomas DiFiore
Thursday Jan 9th, 2014 11:51 AM
Why did DOGGR add language to the Interim Well Stimulation SB 4 package, after close of comments on December 24, 2013 that clarifies the term 'protected water' under the Safe Drinking Water Act which exempts fracking? Remote groundwater basin aquifers, may now, by default, be exempt from California Water Law and protections.

DOGGR Well Stimulation Regulations Additional Language And Aquifer Exemptions
Basin Aquifer Exemptions DOGGR SB 4 PDF is 24 pages 2.5 MB

In The Movie Gasland 2 the National Map Shows Northern California
Unassociated Natural Gas Basins

Throughout 2013, most California fracking debates understandably focused on maps depicting the oil rich geology of the Monterey Shale. Unassociated gas reservoirs, and the changing methods of production and expansion of exploration and lease areas in the Northern part of the State and North Coast, were left out off meeting agendas. Unless drilled on the subject, DOGGR would not discuss the term s- even left it off the presentation slides and flip charts. Discussion was short, any production was framed as past tense and producing gas plays were in the upper San Joaquin Delta, and Northern Sacramento Basins.

But there's way more at stake. Exploratory wells are confidential.
Interestingly, natural gas production zones often overlay basin aquifers throughout the country.

It all has to do with the depth and fold or lay of the sub-surface layers of rock and sands, compaction, and permeability of rock vs clay. The activity in the Earth's crust over long time frames, combined with heat, which has both caused trapping areas of gas, oil and gas, water, etc, and kept them separate.

Northern California Unassociated Natural Gas Basins and Unconventional Gas Production

TO VIEW MAP the link below goes to site hosting several documentaries on fracking.
Gasland 2, Fracking Hell, Split Estate, Sky Is Pink...
http://thoughtmaybe.com/gasland2/

At 12mins 54 secs into the 2 hr and 5 min movie Gasland 2, a National Map is shown. While it makes no distinction between oil and gas reservoirs and unassociated natural gas reservoirs, the Northern California Gas Fields are depicted up through Butte and Tehama counties.

In any location, drilling activity is tied to the economics of oil and gas production to varying degrees. It is influenced by State and International pricing systems of extraction through to delivery to market. Where there's oil there's gas. (wet gas – and production of natural gas liquids for new and developed markets, has overtaken dry gas as the market's base of supply, dry gas or unassociated natural gas production, is often pure high grade methane).

One of the main concerns over fracking is groundwater contamination.

Why did DOGGR add language to the Interim Well Stimulation SB 4 package, after close of comments on December 24, 2013 that clarifies the term 'protected water' under the Safe Drinking Water Act which exempts fracking?

Remote groundwater basin aquifers, solely because of their remoteness to delivery for public use, and because they occur in geologic association with oil and gas reservoirs, and particularly the unassociated natural gas basins on the North Central Coast, North Coast, and North State interior; may now, by default, be exempt from California Water Law and protections. Basin and sub-basin aquifers or portions thereof, can be delineated with private boundaries affecting surface rights, i.e., privately held boundaries of aquifers by oil and gas lease operators for use in oil or gas production, including disposal of produced water.. The aquifer exemption carries with it, a permitting process for the allowance of contamination of a portion of the aquifer, or the entire basin.

Aquifer Exemptions are based first on hydrocarbon production, and weighted against the economic feasibility of hooking up to a 'public water system'.

The Frac King can legally steal whole tributaries of water from rivers in the north, but aquifers can lose groundwater protections because of their remote locations in the north, undocumented use, and the cost of pipe.

SDWA 40 CFR 141.2 defines public water systems as those systems: that provide piped water for human consumption and are equipped with at least 15 connections or regularly serve at least 25 people.

Public water systems include the following:

Community water systems; Nontransient noncommunity water systems; Noncommunity water systems; States were required to establish “wellhead protection areas”.

The full text of SB 4 can be viewed at:
California Legislative Information link:
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB4

The interim regulations rulemaking package was submitted to the Office of Administrative Law on December 18, 2013. PUBLIC COMMENTS NEEDED TO BE IN TO THE OAL and DOGGR BY DEC 24, 2013.

In response to those public comments received, the Department made the following revisions to the interim regulations that were originally proposed:
1) Clarification was added that an Interim Well Stimulation Treatment Notice is not complete unless all chemical constituent information is provided to the Division, regardless of any pending claim of trade secret protection. (Section 1783.1(c).)
2) Clarification was added that if the operator determines that there is no protected water in the area, then an Interim Well Stimulation Treatment Notice is not complete unless it includes concurrence from the Water Boards with that determination.
3) Clarification was added that an aquifer deemed exempt under the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act is not protected water.

The text of the interim regulations with revisions highlighted can be found here.
http://www.conservation.ca.gov/dog/Documents/Final%20Interim%20Regulations%20with%20Highlights.pdf

Comments regarding the proposed regulations can be submitted via email to DOGGRRegulations [at] conservation.ca.gov

via FAX to
(916) 324-0948; or
via regular mail to the
Department of Conservation Office of Governmental and Environmental Relations
801 K Street MS 24-02, 95814
Attention: Well Stimulation Regulations

Comments regarding the EIR can be submitted via email to
SB4EIR [at] conservation.ca.gov

Written Scoping Comments can be sent via U.S. Mail:
California Department of Conservation
Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources
801 K Street, MS 18-00
Sacramento, CA 95814-3530

The Department of Conservation Statewide Fracking EIR document can be downloaded here:
(without the X it is just another PowerPoint Presentation)

http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0SO80hWO8tS7SgAVCVXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEzYmhndWFkBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA01BUDAwNl8x/SIG=148oqrr7u/EXP=1389079510/**http%3a//http://www.conservation.ca.gov/index/Documents/SB%25204%2520EIR%2520Scoping%2520Mtg%2520Presentation%2520121113.pptx


Informative Resource for comments;
http://banslickwaterfracking.blogspot.com/


Tomas DiFiore
North Coast resident