April 3, 2012
The Honorable Fran Pavley, Chair Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee
Room 4035, State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Support for SB 1054 (Pavley) – Notice for new wells
Dear Senator Pavley:
The undersigned support your SB 1054 that would require public notice to surrounding property owners and occupants if an oil or gas well is to be drilled or hydraulically fractured (fracked). The owner or operator of the well would be responsible for this notice, adding to the only notice they are currently required to provide, to the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).
The drilling or fracking of a well is a significant development project, involving substantial above ground and below ground procedures. The nature of the drilling and fracking process involves the use of heavy equipment, chemicals, copious amounts of water, and often accompanying noise, light, and dust. It is fair and reasonable that a neighbor to such a project be notified in advance that it is to occur. After all, neighbors receive a notice for development projects such a variance to decrease a side yard setback in a residential zone or for a conditional use permit such as a proposed non-conforming use in a residential zone.
It is important to point out that SB 1054 would not initiate any new permit process or establish any new appeals or hearings. It does not change the current authority of DOGGR but relies upon the agency’s existing staff to inform any person who might contact them about the notice they receive, which is an appropriate role for a state regulatory agency.
SB 1054 simply says that a driller must tell his neighbors that drilling is about to occur. This “no surprises” policy gives homeowners, land owners, and occupants of these lands a chance to find out what is about to occur and take any precautionary measures they may choose. We urge the passage of SB 1054.
Bill Allayaud California Director of Government Affairs Environmental Working Group
Dan Jacobson Legislative Director Environment California
Jena Price Legislative Director Planning and Conservation League
Jim Metropulos Senior Advocate Sierra Club California
Jennifer A. Waggoner President League of Women Voters of California
Susan Jordan Director California Coastal Protection Network
Justin Malan Legislative Advocate California League of Conservation Voters
Jennifer Krill Executive Director EARTHWORKS