Regulations for fracking should allow and follow these four precepts:
- Allow community self-autonomy. County, municipalities and other governing structures should all have the ability to regulate all oil and gas above and below-ground operations in their area.
- Prove Do NO Harm (No Risk) and have inferred liability (similar to how FDA has a New Drug Approach) – “All drugs” have implied liability even when tested and certified by FDA. Similarly “All Frack Jobs” have implied liability to the community.
- Require informed consent by the surrounding community and those at Risk.
- Support the democratic process and an Informed Public. All information/elements on the table and hold town hall or like community meetings until all concerns/issues are resolved or satisfactorily addressed.
Initial Recommended DRAFT Regulations (6/10/2012)
Future regulations should incorporate or reasonably consider the following elements:
I. Overarching Principles:
- The Precautionary Principle
- Informed Consent
II. Key points for Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations
- Process of Drafting Regulations, public participation, operations
- Public Information: Chemical Disclosure, Public Notices and Trade Secrets
- Water Safety and Water Use
- Waste & Wastewater Management Safety, reuse and disposal
- Air pollution and Emissions
- Seismic/geologic issues
- Community Heath, safety and environmental impacts
III. Well Designs and Construction for Hydraulic Fracturing
I. Overarching Principles
1.) The Precautionary Principle
The precautionary principle states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action.
Our policy makers have an implied social responsibility to protect the public health, safety and to minimize exposure to harm. In instances where Scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking, lacks consensus, or investigation has found a plausible risk, the Precautionary Principle allows policy makers to make discretionary decisions. As countries, states and cities struggle to balance their budgets while protecting the common good, lawmakers need to look at Precautionary Principle approaches to resolve these very real concerns regarding potential harm from hydraulic fracturing for gas and oil.
A precedent for using this approach is found in our own Federal Drug Administration (FDA) policy which demands that corporations prove that their substances “Do no harm” before they can market them.
2.) Informed Consent
Given that PXP is planning to drill under our homes, in addition to the Precautionary Principle, the changes to the Culver City municipal code in respect to hydraulic fracturing should also include:
- That all property owners and residents in and near the horizontal drilling areas be duly informed by the City of the potential risks to their health, safety and property.
- PXP files with the City all letters from property owners who gave their mineral rights to PXP.
- That PXP needs to instruct all property owners regarding areas in their homes or buildings that may be adversely affected from the underground drilling.
- That property owners may file photos/videos of their property where potential damage may occur,
- That PXP indemnify the property owners and pay for any damages that may occur; that the burden of proof lies with PXP if property owners have filed photos/videos with the City before drilling occurred, such as foundations, door jambs, etc.
- That PXP put up sufficient funds in an escrow account that will pay for any damages or loss of life occurring within Culver City from its oil & gas production, with burden of proof on PXP regarding liability.
- That PXP not begin any hydraulic fracturing or “gravel packing” or horizontal drilling until it can prove to the citizenry and not just assume or extrapolate from a vertical model study that its processes are safe, posing no hazard to our health or safety; and that it is in full compliance with the recent EPA requirement to capture toxic air emissions.
- That PXP pay for our Fire Department’s Disaster Preparedness Coordinator and Staff to provide all at-risk areas with Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams (NERT) trainings and also establish Community shelter areas, carrying out evacuation drills and teaching all how to shelter-in-place in case of emergency. Area especially at-risk include Blair Hills, Raintree, Tara Hill, Lakeside, Culver Crest and Marycrest Manor, as too our neighbor, WLA College, as well as our schools.
- That the City provide unbiased public education regarding the pros and cons of this controversial process and that until affected residents give their informed consent in writing, PXP cannot engage in horizontal drilling in Culver City.
II. Key points for Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations
1. Process of Drafting Regulations and public participation
a. Fracking should require specialized discretionary permits that are subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) including requirements of pubic notice and full opportunity for public comment.
b. Post all applications/notices on line and request comments – 2 weeks on Fracture HomePage
c. Notify all owners and residents within 2500ft of the well, from head to toe – 30 days in advance of any HF stimulation.
d. Require documentation and submission within 30days of completion for:
i. Fully described with calculations and drawings/flow charts;
ii. Included in all applications and notices of intent submitted to the Division;
iii. Subject to review and approval before undertaking; and
iv. Fully described in subsequent Well Histories and in reports of activities to be submitted within 30 days of completion and reported monthly if prolonged beyond 30 days from initiation of high pressure operations.
e. Post all reports, submissions, tests, logs, and well histories within 30 days of their preparation within 5 working days of DOGGR submission/receipt.
2. Public Information: Chemical Disclosure, Public Notices and Trade Secrets
a. Disclosure to appropriate state and local agencies and neighboring communities, of the names, volume and concentration of all substances used in fracking fluids within a 30-day window before and after fracking.
b. Companies must demonstrate their fracking fluids won’t harm public health or the environment and only a list of approved chemicals based on public health concerns should be used.
c. “Trade Secret” information should be made available to medical professionals and shared with other providers, public health agencies and the patient.
3. Water Safety and Water Use
a. Fracking Fluids should be subject to Federal Safe Drinking Water Act ( close the Halliburton loophole.)
b. Companies required to develop comprehensive water use and wastewater conservation, recycling and handling plans .
4. Waste & Wastewater Management Safety, reuse and disposal
a. Require comprehensive life-cycle management system for all wastes generated through oil and gas development and remove fracking from Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act exemption.
b. Wastewater should be held in closed tanks within secondary containment.
c. Disposal of wastewater via underground injection well should only be allowed under extenuating circumstances, for a limited amount of time, and only into “Class I” wells.
d. Conduct and Provide WATER BUDGET – an annual estimate of all water use, importation, storage, use, treatment, and disposal/discharge/disposition (e.g., Area emissions or emissions bubble) from any exploration, drilling, completion, and production activities and facilities for the area.
Including Water Supply and Consumption, Surface Water and Spill Management Control Wastewater and Solid Waste Management, Groundwater Contamination water Flow Chart Produced Water, Industrial Process Water and Comingled Waters >;51%Produced = produced, Produced Water.
e. Conduct and Provide CHEMICAL BUDGET,
including an annual estimate of all chemicals used for any exploration, drilling, completion, and production activities and facilities for the Area/Unit/Field/Lease and their composition after use and before any transport from the well pad.
5. Air pollution and Emissions
a. An ongoing air monitoring program, including baseline sampling, should be created to help determine the amount of localized air pollution is caused by fracking operation.
b. Conduct and Provide AERIAL GASES BUDGET of all area with more than four (4) wells per square mile (640acres)
with an annual estimate of all air emissions (e.g., Area/Unit/Field Emissions or emissions bubble) from any exploration, drilling, completion, and production activities and facilities for the area.
c. Conduct and Provide emissions controls for all GHG and air toxics to reduce emissions to those estimated for the year 1990 within a five (5) year period.
6. Seismic/geologic issues
a. DOGGR should require detailed site characterizations to ensure that wells are sited in locations that are geologically suitable for fracking and wastewater injection.
b. Conduct and Provide cross-hole geophysical logging for all wells within 500ft of subject wells for any and all water, gas, or petroleum composition shall be undertaken and shall establish for each well activity.
c. Conduct and Provide geophysical surveys of all areas with 4 or more wells to ascertain the depths and contours of the bases of “fresh” and useful water and the expected depths of any member, horizon, play, or zone with hydrocarbon contents >;100mg/L TPH.
d. Companies required to monitor for possible seismic activity cooperating with relevant federal, state and local agencies.
e. Conduct and Provide monitoring seismicity and water quality before, during, and after drilling, completing, stimulating, and up to initial production and 60 days thereafter.
f. Conduct and Provide full logs any/all water, gas, or petroleum composition and shall establish for each well activity.
Actual depth to useful water (;50mg/L TPH).
g. Conduct and Provide NATURAL RESOURCES BUDGET,
including changes in Formation Permeability, Porosity, and Connectivity, Natural Fractures, Joints, and Faults, Waters, Hydrocarbon Liquids, and Hydrocarbon Gases.
7. Community Heath, safety and environmental impacts
a. DOGGR to collaborate with other agencies and local governments to ensure that oil and gas companies have adequate response plans in place to deal with fracking related emergencies as to both their short-term and long-term consequences.
b. DOGGR should commit to respecting all local ordinances addressing where fracking activities may occur within a municipality.
c. Require Oil and gas companies to locate and assess the condition of all wells withing the expected radius of fracking area for integrity
d. Separate bonding requirement for well life-time for fracking operations.
III. Well Design and Construction requirements for Hydraulic Fracturing;
[Courtesy of Dr. Tom Williams a noted oil and gas field specialist]
Hydraulic Fracturing –
Any well subject to hydraulic fracturing or other high pressure injection systems or activities ( high pressure is when working pressures, for any and all activities from start to finish, exceed calculated hydraulic head of 0.42-0.6psi/foot of water) shall have the following reporting, design, documentation, analytical, and construction elements:
- Require any well to have 100% logged/tested cementing of casings to borehole walla. All casings shall have 100% casing-cementing-borehole wall from surface to toe suitable for containing calculated maximum pressures expected during any phase of well construction/reconstruction including drilling, complete, development, stimulation or other related activities during the initial drilling and any subsequent activities through abandonment.
- Conduct, Provide, Confirm and Certify logs of all casings for casing-cementing-borehole bonding integrity suitable and adequate to demonstrate full containment of calculated maximum pressures expected during any phase of well construction including drilling, complete, development, stimulation or other related activities during the initial drilling and any subsequent activities through abandonment.
- Conduct and Provide all wells to pressure test and use BlowOutPreventers rated to 120% of expected highest pressures.
a. All casings shall have specifications suitable for containing calculated maximum pressures expected during any phase of well construction/reconstruction, including drilling, complete, development, stimulation or other related activities during the initial drilling and any subsequent activities through abandonment.
b. All wells which may be pressurized in any manner above the calculated hydraulic pressure gradient shall be pressure-tested as an entire unit to the same level of pressure as to be used plus 20% (e.g., 6000psi expected maximum pressure requires a casing pressure test rated for 6000psi+1200psi = 7200psi) for a period equal to plus 20% of that during operations when pressures exceed the hydraulic gradient of 0.42psi/foot (e.g., 3hr for fracking = 180min + 36min = 216min for testing). Any pressure loss of >;5% throughout the test period shall be assumed to equal failure of tests and additional activities shall be required prior to any other high pressure efforts until such compliance for the full test period is achieved.
c. All drilling and any other pre-production activities shall be equipped with a blowout preventer installed, operational, and tested suitable for containing the calculated maximum pressures to be reached during any phase of well activities (e.g., if fracked at 8000-9000psi, a BOP rated at 10,000psi would be used during all phases of well construction or reconstruction).
- Conduct and Provide current pre-well activities OPERATIONAL PRESSURE, including actual pressures, less than estimated pressure, more than or longer than estimated duration.
- Develop, Implement, and Provide WELL CONTINGENCY PROGRAMS for all emergency conditions which would be expected, based on past 20+ years of oil field activities (e.g., blowout, spills/releases, etc.)
- Develop, Implement, and Provide PERIODIC RE-LOGGING, RESURVEY AND RE-TESTING of wells, pressure tests, water/oil/gas logs.
- Re-abandon any well within 2500ft of an operating well with 100% cementation (0% mud) of well annular and internal casing space.
- Develop, Implement, Conduct and Provide WELL ABANDONMENT PROGRAM to a.) review all historic sources and confirm locations and conditions of every know, expected, and suspected well within 2500ft of any well from head to toe; b.) locate wells and conduct tests and monitor gases and pressures within the well; c.) conduct risk management for each well in relationship to the field and individual operating wells;
- Require all operators to establish funds for the Division’s FULL COSTS RECOVERY for implementing above measures based on the actual use of hydraulic fracturing.
- Develop, Implement, and Provide LIABILITIES AND DO-NO-HARM CLAUSES for gas-oil related complaints, Prove No Harm.