Well Stimulation Treatment Inter-Agency Collaboration

​Interagency Working Group

Memo to Secretaries Laird and Rodriguez providing progress update by the Interagency Working Group

Memoranda of Agreement

The Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM, formerly DOGGR) is only one public entity whose authority extends to regulating well stimulation treatment (WST) and WST-related activities. As a result, Senate Bill 4 (Chapter 313, Statutes of 2013) (SB 4) directed CalGEM to enter into formal agreements with certain state and local agencies respecting WST and WST-related activities. Key requirements of SB 4 are that the formal agreements or “Memoranda of Agreement” (MOAs) must: (1) delineate each agency’s authority, responsibilities, and notification and reporting requirements; (2) specify the agencies responsible for air quality and water quality monitoring and the safe and lawful disposal of materials in landfills; (3) address trade secret handling protocols; and (4) provide for ready public access to information regarding well stimulation treatments and the related activities.

In accordance with mandates of SB 4 and the related Well Stimulation Program, CalGEM entered into the following formal agreements:

While not expressly required by SB 4, in regard to WST and WST-related activities which may or will occur within California's coastal zone, an MOA was also deemed to be appropriate with the California Coastal Commission:

The above MOAs consist of some or all of the following elements:

  1. WST Permitting: CalGEM will share WST permit application materials with the other agencies to assist them in regulating WST and WST-related activities and to ensure multi-agency coordination and oversight of WST regulation. The agencies receiving the materials may provide comments and recommendations to DOGGR during its application-review process. If a permit is issued, DOGGR will notify other agencies when it receives an operator’s 72-hour notice that a WST is to commence.
  2. Other-Agency Actions: In certain cases, upon receiving information, issuing a permit or other approval, or proposing rulemaking related to WST, other agencies will notify CalGEM or provide it with a copy of the information or approval. CalGEM may have an opportunity to comment prior to agency action on the information or proposed approval or rulemaking.
  3. Monitoring and Investigating: The appropriate MOAs specify that the water boards, ARB and the air districts, CalRecycle, and DTSC are primarily responsible for water quality monitoring, air quality monitoring, landfill disposal, and hazardous waste oversight, respectively. CalGEM and other agencies agreed to share information discovered during inspections. 
  4. Training and Enforcement Coordination: Where appropriate, the parties will cross-train their staff to assist in identifying violations of WST-related regulations and permit requirements. The parties will notify each other of potential or actual violations observed during inspections or reported by the public. They will coordinate enforcement actions as appropriate, but are not precluded from taking separate actions or timely responding to an emergency.
  5. Information Sharing Generally:  CalGEM and other agencies will share information, including confidential or protected information (e.g., trade secrets), in a manner consistent with well stimulation statutes, the California Public Records Act, evidentiary privileges, and any other applicable law. The MOAs specify protocols for handling confidential or protected information.

Related Agencies