Oil & Gas Legislation

2019-2020 Legislative Session

Below is a list of some of the key bills we will be monitoring throughout the Legislative Sessions.

PENDING

AB-345 (Muratsuchi) Natural resources: environmental justice: oil and gas: regulation of operations.

This bill would require the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to create an environmental justice program within the agency to identify and address any gaps in existing programs, policies, or activities that may impede the achievement of environmental justice. The bill, contingent upon funding for this purpose, would require the secretary to establish a grant-based reimbursement program to enable environmental justice and community groups to meaningfully participate in rulemaking and other regulatory processes at departments and entities within the agency. The bill would define environmental justice for these purposes.

AB-926 (O’Donnell) Oil revenue: Oil Trust Fund.

This bill would delete the provisions relating to the limit on the total amount deposited in the fund. By increasing the amount of money that may be deposited into a continuously appropriated fund, this bill would make an appropriation.

AB-1441 (Levine) Oil and gas: development.

This bill would revise and recast the duty on the supervisor to supervise the drilling, operation, maintenance, and abandonment of wells so as to permit the owners or operators of the wells to utilize methods and practices known to the oil industry that, in the opinion of the supervisor, are suitable in each proposed case. The bill would revise the declared policy of the state relating to the grant in an oil and gas lease or contract of the right or power to explore for and remove hydrocarbons from any lands in the state. The bill would instead require the supervisor to perform their administrative duties in a manner so as to help ensure the wise oversight of oil and gas development used to meet oil and gas needs in this state.

AB-3230 (Friedman) Public Resources Code, relating to oil and gas.

This bill would require the Geologic Energy Management Division to review the study and strategy and determine if any of the oil and gas wells identified continue to pose a hazard.

SIGNED/VETOED

AB-342 (Muratsuchi) Public lands: leasing: oil and gas: prohibition.

This bill, notwithstanding the leasing authority described above or any other law, and to the extent not prohibited by federal law, would prohibit any state agency, department, or commission, or any local trustee, as defined, with leasing authority over public lands within the state from entering into any new lease or other conveyance authorizing new construction of oil- and gas-related infrastructure upon public lands, including tidelands and submerged lands, to support production of oil and natural gas upon federal lands that are designated as, or were at any time designated as, federally protected lands, as defined. The bill would provide that these provisions do not prevent specified activities, including, among others, any activity undertaken to convey oil or natural gas produced from state lands or waters.

AB-255 (Limon) Coastal resources: oil spills: grants.

The Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act authorizes the administrator for oil spill response to offer grants to a local government with jurisdiction over or directly adjacent to waters of the state to provide oil spill response equipment to be deployed by a certified local spill response manager, as provided. This bill would provide that Native American tribes and other public entities are also eligible to receive those grants.

AB 585 (Limon) Public lands: oil, gas, and mineral leases.

This bill would require an assignment, transfer, or sublease, or a memorandum of an assignment, transfer, or sublease, to be recorded in the office of the county recorder of the county in which the leased or permitted lands are located. The bill would authorize the commission, in considering an approval of an assignment, transfer, or sublease of a lease or permit under those provisions, to consider whether the proposed assignee, as defined, is likely to comply with the terms of the assigned lease or permit for the duration of both the primary term of the original lease or permit and any extended term of the lease because of production, as determined by specified factors.

AB-936 (Rivas) Oil spills: response and contingency planning.

This bill would define “nonfloating oil” for purposes of the act. The bill would require the administrator to hold, on or before January 1, 2022, a technology workshop that shall include the topic of technology for addressing nonfloating oil spills, and, in fulfilling specified duties, to consider information gained from technology workshops, as well as available scientific and technical literature concerning nonfloating oil spill response technology. The bill would require the administrator to include in the revision to the California oil spill contingency plan due on or before January 1, 2023, provisions addressing nonfloating oil.

AB-1057 (Limon) Oil and gas: Geologic Energy Management Division: wells and facilities: disposition and acquisition notices: indemnity bonds and remediation: additional security: civil penalty.

This bill would change the name of the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources within the Department of Conservation to the Geologic Energy Management Division and make conforming changes.

This bill would specify that the purposes of provisions relating to oil and gas conservation include protecting public health and safety and environmental quality, including reduction and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the development of hydrocarbon and geothermal resources in a manner that meets the energy needs of the state. The bill would require the State Oil and Gas Supervisor to coordinate with other state agencies and certain entities in furtherance of the goals of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and to help support the state’s clean energy goals.

AB-1328 (Holden) Oil and gas: notice of intention to abandon well: study of fugitive emissions from idle, idle-deserted, and abandoned wells.

This bill would extend the time period to commence abandonment operations from one year to 24 months before the notice is deemed canceled.

This bill would require the division, in consultation with the State Air Resources Board, to initiate a study to be conducted by independent experts of fugitive emissions from idle, idle-deserted, and abandoned wells in the state, as provided.

AB-1440 (Levine) Oil and gas: development

This bill would revise and recast the duty on the supervisor to supervise the drilling, operation, maintenance, and abandonment of wells so as to permit the owners or operators of the wells to utilize methods and practices known to the oil industry that, in the opinion of the supervisor, are suitable in each proposed case. The bill would revise the declared policy of the state relating to the grant in an oil and gas lease or contract of the right or power to explore for and remove hydrocarbons from any lands in the state. The bill would instead require the supervisor to perform their administrative duties in a manner so as to help ensure the wise oversight of oil and gas development used to meet oil and gas needs in this state.

SB-457 (Hueso) Biomethane: gas corporations

This bill would require the commission to extend the monetary incentive program until December 31, 2026, or until all available program funds are expended, whichever occurs first.

SB-463 (Stern) Natural gas storage wells: well stimulation treatments: chemical composition: leaks: regulation. 

This bill would delete the exclusion of well stimulation treatments that are used for routine maintenance of wells associated with underground storage facilities where natural gas is injected into and withdrawn from depleted or partially depleted oil or gas reservoirs from the applicability of the provisions described above. By expanding the scope of a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

SB-551 (Jackson) Oil and gas: wells and facilities: abandonment and decommissioning: reporting and inspections

This bill would extend that reporting date from October 1, 2020, to April 1, 2021. The bill would require the division, in collecting the information for the report, to conduct field inspections of hazardous wells, idle-deserted wells, deserted facilities, and hazardous facilities and to include information in the report from the field inspections that can be used to prioritize those wells and facilities in the specific schedule of goals. This bill would require the division, for the report due on or before July 1, 2021, and each report thereafter, to conduct inspections of production facilities attendant to long-term idle wells to ensure compliance with the applicable statutory requirements. The bill would require information summarizing violations and pertinent findings in these inspections to be included in the applicable reports.