SB 556 (Gonzalez) Oil and gas wells oversight: health protection zones


Existing law establishes the Geologic Energy Management Division in the Department of Conservation (CalGEM), under the direction of the State Oil and Gas Supervisor, who is required to supervise the drilling, operation, maintenance, and abandonment of oil and gas wells in the state and the operation, maintenance, and removal or abandonment of tanks and facilities related to oil and gas production within an oil and gas field, so as to prevent damage to life, health, property, and natural resources.

Existing law requires the operator of any well, before commencing the work of drilling the well, to file with the supervisor or the district deputy a written notice of intention to commence drilling and prohibits drilling from commencing until approval is given, as provided. Existing law prohibits, commencing January 1, 2023, the division from approving any notice of intention within a health protection zone, except for approvals of notices of intention necessary for specified purposes. Existing law defines a “health protection zone” to mean the area within 3,200 feet of a sensitive receptor, which is defined to include a residence, education resource, as described, health care facility, or live-in housing, among other places, as provided.

This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would increase oversight regarding the drilling, operation, maintenance, and abandonment of oil and gas wells in health protection zones.

Committee Location: Rules (Unassigned as of March 20, 2023)

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