California’s first regulations on fracking and related oil production practices will go into effect next year in the most populous U.S. state under a bill signed into law on Friday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.
Fracking is the practice of injecting water, sand and chemicals underground to crack rock formations and free up oil and natural gas. The technology makes it possible for oil companies to unlock California’s vast Monterey Shale deposit, estimated to hold 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
The California law would require oil companies to obtain permits for fracking as well as acidizing, the use of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals to dissolve shale rock.
It would also require notification of neighbors, public disclosure of the chemicals used, as well as groundwater and air quality monitoring and an independent scientific study.