SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — A landmark bill regulating hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is expected to win final approval in the state Senate on Thursday. Governor Jerry Brown says he will sign it into law, but the state’s major environmental groups no longer support the bill.
The fracking bill, SB4, saw some last-minute amendments pushed by the oil and gas industry.
There was no chance to pass a bill banning fracking during this Senate session, so environmentalists had time to make sure SB4 contained permit requirements, groundwater monitoring and other safeguards. However, Bill Allayaud with the Environmental Working Group said it was amended to water down the review process at the 11th hour.
“We felt that some of the words had gone too far, that they give too much leeway to the Division of Oil and Gas to do environmental reviews,” Allayaud said.
The environmentalists denounced the compromise bill, which passed the State Assembly, then, in a rare comment on a pending bill, Gov. Brown announced he will sign it, calling it an “important step forward”.
“What it shows is that special interests continue to have a powerful grip on Sacramento’s legislative process,” said Dan Jacobson with Environment California.
The bill’s author and the governor’s office said the measure does contain many environmental provisions that would not have been possible without the compromise.
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