Capitol Alert: AM Alert: California's new fracking law yields draft regulations

jwhite@sacbee.comNovember 15, 2013 

After last session's fierce dispute over the future of hydraulic fracturing in California, the initial product of a new fracking law will flow into view this morning.

The state's first successful piece of fracking legislation got signed into law despite satisfying neither of the key interests: it drew opposition from both the environmentalists warning of an unfettered fracking boom and the energy industry bemoaning cumbersome rules. This morning, the California Department of Conservation plans to announce the first draft of regulations resulting from the bill.

And while environmentalists ended up unhappy with the final bill, many concede that regulations guided by Sen. Fran Pavley's bill are an improvement over the rules drafted last year by the department's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, which lawmakers and advocates alike criticized as lacking. So now the months-long process begins of shaping and finalizing the new regs, with representatives of Sierra Club California, Clean Water Actions and other environmental groups weighing their next steps during a 10:30 a.m. conference call.

VIDEO: Dan Walters takes a bite out of Gov. Jerry Brown's "reality sandwich."

SCORING: After California's dismal test score showing last week, the Select Committee on Status of Boys and Men of Color in California will consider how the state has fared in implementing a law changing the data that flows into the Academic Performance Index, or API, that has been a key measure of school performance.

ARNBALL: Today we get a liberal icon chatting with California's last Republican governor. Chris Matthews and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will talk about the state of federal politics and whether electoral reform in California, particularly the top-two primary, has altered the status quo. Prof. Kevin Starr will moderate, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the University of Southern California.

IMMIGRATION NATION: Lest you forget there are some non-health-care policy fights certain Democrats would rather be having, Assemblyman Jose Medina is dispatching some allies to get the immigration ball rolling on Saturday. In the latest effort to bring California Republicans on board, Medina will be sending people door-to-door in an effort to gather signatures urging Rep. Gary Miller, R-Diamond Bar, to coax his congressional colleagues into taking up immigration reform.

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