Oil and gas regulatory bill set for debate in Sacramento

Apr 10, 2015

The oil and gas fields near San Ardo in Monterey County, Calif.
Credit Randol White, KCBX

Revamping the state's oil and gas watchdog group will be the topic of discussion in Sacramento next week.

The push comes from a Central Coast politician who wants to see far more oversight of local drilling operations. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson said the watchdog group has not been doing its job of protecting and informing the public.

Jackson said that the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has failed to protect groundwater from oil and gas contamination. She's introduced a bill that would make informing the public and protecting groundwater its priority.

"The agency has interpreted it's mission as centering around encouraging the extraction of oil and gas and not protecting the public," said Jackson. "This legislation is designed to overturn this longstanding imbalance. "

The agency has been overseeing the state's energy resources for nearly a century.

Tupper Hull is a spokesperson for the Western States Petroleum Association and said that the industry is already heavily regulated.

Senator Jackson's Bill heads to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on Tuesday.