FAIRFIELD — The campaign by Solano County’s state senator to recoup the costs for certain environmental cleanup efforts moved ahead this week in the Legislature
Senate Bill 665 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, cleared the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. The bill would update bonding requirements to help ensure that oil and gas drilling operators, not taxpayers, are responsible for the cost of repairing environmental damage caused during drilling.
The state agency in charge of oil and gas regulation – the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources within the California Natural Resources Agency – has reported that current bonding requirements, which haven’t been adjusted since 1998, are “outdated” and “insufficient,” according to a release from Wolk’s office.
California taxpayers paid roughly $16 million to remedy violations related to oil and gas wells between the 1999-2000 and 2012-13 budget years, the agency reported, but only collected about $2.6 million from those responsible for the environmental damage.
The bill, supported by the Sierra Club, the Environmental Working Group and Clean Water Action, moved to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
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