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Welcome to the California Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation provides services and information that promote environmental health, economic vitality, informed land-use decisions and sound management of our state's natural resources.

* Department of Conservation Implementing Renewal Plan. See more below

 

Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Leak Update

DOC Statement on Temporary Control of Leaking Well

A well in a natural gas storage facility in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles began leaking on October 23. Many state agencies – including the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources – are overseeing efforts by the Southern California Gas Company (SCG) and its contractors to halt the leak.

California Department of Conservation Chief Deputy Director Jason Marshall issued the following statement in response to a February 11 announcement from Southern California Gas Company that it has “temporarily controlled the flow of leaking gas at the well” by “pumping heavy fluids” into the well.

“This is an important step toward stopping the gas leak. However additional steps must be taken before the well is officially confirmed to be sealed. After Southern California Gas Company injects cement into the leaking well to form a permanent seal and that cement seal has dried, several tests mandated by the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources will be conducted to confirm the leaking well has been sealed. We will issue a public notice that the well is officially sealed only after this state verification and testing is complete.”

The Division of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) will remain on site with key experts throughout this process to ensure all necessary tests are accomplished and the results are carefully analyzed as soon as possible.  For more information on how state inspectors will independently verify the leak has been sealed, click here. No further statements will be made by DOGGR until the final test results are ready to be announced. 

Additional links related to the leak:

* ​January 26, 2016 Governor's Office of Emergency Services frequently asked questions

* January 6, 2016 Governor Brown issued a proclamation that declared the situation an emergency and detailed the administration's ongoing efforts to help stop the leak.

* December 10, 2015 emergency order from State Oil & Gas Supervisor to SCG

* November 18, 2015 emergency order from State Oil & Gas Supervisor to SCG

* Standard Sesnon 25 well records and testing results

* Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Project file

* Southern California Gas information page

* Los Angeles County Department of Public Health fact sheet

* Governor's Office of Emergency Services information page

* Fact sheet about the responsibilities of various state agencies with respect to this incident. 

* State Oil & Gas Supervisor's statement to Porter Ranch community

* Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources fact sheet on Aliso Canyon

* Simplified map showing the Aliso Canyon field

Emergency Regulations For Natural Gas Storage Now in Place

On February 5, 2016, the Office of Administrative Law approved the Department of Conservation's (DOC) emergency regulations for all underground gas storage projects in the state. The emergency regulations were established under the emergency rulemaking process to protect public health, safety, and the environment while permanent regulations are being finalized.

Consistent with the mandate of the Governor's emergency proclamation related to the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility in Los Angeles County, DOC's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources determined that there was an immediate need to require implementation of performance standards specifically designed to ensure that operators of underground gas storage facilities are properly mitigating risks and taking all appropriate steps to prevent uncontrolled releases, blowouts, and other infrastructure-related accidents.

The Governor's emergency proclamation includes a mandate the emergency regulations accomplish all of the following:

* Require at least a daily inspection of gas storage wellheads, using gas leak detection technology such as infrared imaging.

* Require ongoing verification of the mechanical integrity of all gas storage wells.

* Require ongoing measurement of annular gas pressure or annular gas flow within wells.

* Require regular testing of all safety valves used in wells.

* Establish minimum and maximum pressure limits for each gas storage facility in the state.

* Require each storage facility to establish a comprehensive risk management plan that evaluates and prepares for risk at each facility, including corrosion potential of pipes and equipment.

To view the final text of the emergency regulations, effective 2-5-16, click here.

To view the finding of emergency and notice of proposed emergency rulemaking, click here.

To view the Department of Conservation's responses to public comments, click here.

To view the Office of Administrative Law approval, click here.

To view the originally proposed text of the emergency regulations, click here.

To view the news release, click here.

DOC Releases Discussion Draft Regulations Regarding the Underground Injection Control Program

On January 21, 2016, the Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (Division) publicly released pre-rulemaking draft regulations (discussion draft) for the purpose of receiving public input on the development of updates to the regulations implementing the Division's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program. The release of the discussion draft initiates a 30-day comment period.  The comments received throughout this period will be reviewed and considered as the Division updates the draft regulations.

The update to the UIC regulations is an elemental component of a correction action plan agreed to by the Division, the State Water Resources Control Board, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to bring the State's Class II UIC Program into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

For information about how to comment, please click here.

To view the discussion draft regulations, please click here.

To view the news release, please click here.

DOC Issues Oil & Gas Renewal Plan, Report to Legislature

Building on the ongoing effort to strengthen and improve the state's oversight of oil and gas production, the California Department of Conservation on October 8 released a Renewal Plan to overhaul its regulatory program and continue refocusing on the guiding principles of environmental protection and public health. The Renewal Plan, along with the ongoing reform efforts, also will help fix various regulatory problems identified in a report submitted to the Legislature today under Senate Bill 855 (2010) that directed the Department to report on the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources' enforcement and permitting of underground injection control (UIC).

CGS Helps Assess Fire-Stricken Areas for Landslide Potential

Most people think "earthquakes" when they think about the California Geological Survey, and rightfully so. But CGS also plays a role in helping Californians prepare for the potential of landslides or debris flows. Those can be as devastating as earthquakes in a more localized area, and areas on slopes stripped of vegetation by wildfires are particularly vulnerable.

Volumes II and III of Independent Science Study on Well Stimulation Released

Pursuant to 2013 legislation by Senator Fran Pavley (Senate Bill 4), the California Natural Resources Agency commissioned the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to conduct an independent scientific assessment of well stimulation, including hydraulic fracturing, in California. On July 9, 2015, CCST publicly released Volumes II and III of the assessment.

Volume II assesses the potential impacts of well-stimulation technology with respect to water, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as induced seismicity, ecology, traffic and noise. Volume III presents case studies to assess environmental issues and qualitative hazards for specific geographic regions, based on findings in Volume I and Volume II.

To view or download the report, please visit the CCST website.

Permanent Well Stimulation Regulations in Effect, EIR Certified

Permanent regulations for the use of oil and gas well stimulation in California became effective July 1. The regulations bolster transparency, reporting requirements, and groundwater protection, and require operators to obtain a permit to conduct stimulation activities. The permanent regulations replace interim regulations developed by the Department of Conservation that since January 1, 2014 had guided production methods such as hydraulic fracturing and acid matrix stimulation.

DOC's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources on July 1 also certified an accompanying statewide Environmental Impact Report about the practice of well stimulation. The EIR was mandated by Senate Bill 4.

Additionally, it was announced that the California Council on Science & Technology will publish volumes II-IV of an independent scientific assessment of well stimulation in California on July 9. More information about that report can be found here.


Underground Injection Control (UIC) News and Information

DOC ISSUES NOTICE TO READOPT EMERGENCY REGULATIONS

On January 7, 2016, the Department of Conservation noticed its intent to readopt emergency regulations necessary to protect public health, safety and the environment, and to bring California’s Class II Underground Injection Control program into compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The emergency regulations were established under an emergency rulemaking process to ensure that regulations are in place while the permanent regulations are being finalized. The emergency regulations were approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on April 20, 2015. By law, emergency regulations last for only six months unless extended. This readoption serves to extend the emergency regulations for an additional 90 days while adoption of the regulations under the regular rulemaking process is underway.

To view the rulemaking documents related to either the emergency or permanent aquifer exemption compliance schedule regulations, click

here

.

DOGGR's Action Plan Receives U.S. EPA Approval

California regulatory authorities on Friday, February 6, submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a plan to correct deficiencies in the regulation of underground injection. The response included a 12-page letter, prepared by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the State Water Resources Control Board, and four supporting documents, all of which are linked below. The plan focuses on the enhanced protection of California aquifers from contamination due to oil and gas production.

 News

  • The Department of Conservation on January 15, 2106 provided public notice of an interim regulatory package for oversight of natural gas storage facilities.
  • With heavy rains on the way, the California Geological Survey has produced a new mapping tool that provides important information about the potential for landslides around the state. 
  • The California Geological Survey has issued the first-ever earthquake fault zone maps to guide development in the Lake Tahoe area.
  • The latest water-use data related to oil production in California, required under a new state law, is now available. This report covers the second quarter of 2015.
  • The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has issued an order seeking data from an oil producer to determine whether its operations are related to subsidence in the Inglewood oil field.
  • If predictions of heavy rains throughout California this winter thanks to El Nino come true, its likely that landslides will follow. Those who live on slopes should
    be aware of the warning signs of impending debris flows.
  • Thirty-three underground injection wells were required to permanently cease operations as the Department of Conservation continued the effort to improve its regulation of the oil industry and protect California's groundwater resources.
  • The Department of Conservation issued a Renewal Plan for oil and gas regulation and a report to the Legislature about its oversight efforts.
  • The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has fined a Bakersfield-based oil and gas operator for hundred of reporting and other violations.
  • The Department of Conservation has scheduled workshops in three communities -- Los Angeles, Ventura, and Bakersfield -- to receive public input on plans to update regulations related to the Underground Injection Control Program. Want to know more?
  • The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources issued civil penalties to 30 oil and gas producers that failed to provide SB 1281-required water data. News release here.
  • The Department of Conservation (DOC) is making available comprehensive data on water use related to oil and gas production  This is the first report to be posted as a result of recent legislation (Senate Bill 1281; Pavley, 2014), which requires self-reported data from industry.  Read the report | read news release
  • A new state program that invests in agricultural land protection for the sake of climate benefits will help ensure that seven California farms and ranches are never developed. Read more here.
  • Parts II and III of an independent study about the use of well stimulation, including hydraulic fracturing, have been released by the California Council on Science & Technology.
  • Permanent regulations for the use of oil and gas well stimulation are now in place. Also, the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources certified an Environmental Impact Report for well stimulation in California. Read the news release here.
  • The Division of Land Resource Protection reports that the California Land Conservation Act (Williamson Act) continues to ensure that agricultural land isn't prematurely developed, despite some challenges.
  • Five preliminary Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zone maps for Southern California have been released for public review (see the news release). The maps are designed to protect public safety and property.
  • According to the latest non-fuel minerals report from the California Geological Survey, covering 2013, California ranks eighth in the nation despite less gold production. Click this link for more information.
  • The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources and State Water Resources Control Board have provided the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with a progress report on State oversight of underground injection well. See the news release.
  • The Office of Administrative Law has approved the Department of Conservation's emergency rulemaking for the use of underground injection for oil and gas production in California. Read all about it here.
  • March 22-28 is Tsunami Preparedness Week. Read about how the California Geological Survey is working with other state, federal and local entities to ensure that California coastal communities are prepared for these dangerous geologic phenomena.
  • DOC's Division of Land Resource Protection, the federal government and Ducks Unlimited, Inc. permanently set aside the Castro Ranch in Sutter County for agriculture and habitat. Learn more here.
  • The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has directed that 12 underground injection wells be shut-in to protect groundwater and public health. See the news release.
  • The Department of Conservation, in cooperation with the State Water Resources Control Board, on February 6 provided the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with a plan to correct deficiencies in its regulatory program of underground injection for oil and natural gas production in California. Read more here.
  • The Department of Conservation's California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP) is accepting proposals to offset farmland loss associated with the California high-speed rail alignment through the Central Valley. The High-Speed Rail Authority has $20 million budgeted for farmland mitigation in the first stage of development. Properties in Fresno and Madera counties are the focus of current efforts. More information can be found here.
  • Landowner Sibley Fedora's family migrated to the United States on the Mayflower and acquired the Sutter County property he still lives and ranches on in the late 1800s. Thanks to an agricultural conservation easement, the Dept. of Conservation, the USDA and the Sutter Butte Regional Land Trust, 376-acres of the Fedora Farm will permanently be preserved for agriculture. Read all about it here.
  • The California Geological Survey issued final versions of two regulatory maps to aid in land-use planning in the greater Los Angeles area. These Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zone Maps outline zones of required site investigations along the Hollywood Fault as well as additional active faults in the Monrovia-Duarte-Azusa areas. View the maps here. Read the news release here.
  • The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) announced steps to review the state's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program in order to ensure that the program fully complies with the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act, designed to prevent waste water associated with oil production from being injected into aquifers containing water suitable for human or agricultural use. Read more here.