This Comment begins with a history of fracking, the current impact of the practice, and why it has become such a highly contested issue. It will explain how fracking is being done in California and present the current landscape of federal and state regulations. Specifically, California fracking regulations are currently in a state of flux due to the recent enactment of California State Senate Bill 4 ("SB 4"). The Argument section of this Comment posits that SB 4 may have some beneficial effects regarding increased environmental protection and regulatory oversight, but there remain weak spots in the current regulations that put human health and the environment at risk. Although not perfect, SB 4 is a sign of progress, and this Comment explains how the new regulations can be further improved to protect the health, welfare, and natural environment of California. Such improvements include limiting trade secret exemptions for fracking liquid, increased notice requirements, adequate funding for state agencies charged with implementing new regulations, and proper procedural oversight of new agency practices. If these improvements are implemented, they will make SB 4 a model for other jurisdictions seeking to adopt similar environmental protections.
Taming the West: Senate Bill 4 and California's Struggle to Regulate Fracking, 8 Golden Gate U. Envtl. L.J. 119