California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday that will establish the state’s first rules detailing how oil drillers use hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking, to crack underground rock formations and free up oil and natural gas.
The bill from Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, requires drillers to disclose the chemicals used and acquire permits before they use hydraulic fracturing. The process involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into deep rock formations to release oil or natural gas.
Drilling companies have been exploring whether fracking could help them access oil in California's Monterey Shale, estimated to hold 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
Pavley's bill passed the Legislature last week amid concerns from some conservation groups over last-minute changes affecting environmental reviews. Several groups urged Brown instead to temporarily halt fracking until officials can evaluate whether there are risks to public health.