In light of growing concern about hydraulic fracturing in California, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) in 2013, requiring the California Natural Resources Agency to conduct an independent, scientific study of hydraulic fracturing and other types of well stimulation treatments in California.
The California Natural Resources Agency commissioned a report from the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) in partnership PSE Healthy Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and many other research institutions. The report consists of three peer-reviewed volumes. The volumes go into extensive detail about well stimulation treatments in California; the risks these practices pose to water, air, seismic activity, wildlife, and human health. Each chapter also highlights information gaps and research and policy recommendations.
This study is an important step in informing policy discussions, as few scientific studies of the health and environmental dimensions of well stimulation have been published and assessments conducted in other parts of the country often have practices that differ from those undertaken in California. Dr. Seth Shonkoff and others at PSE played a lead role in evaluating the public health risks of well stimulation and oil and gas development in general in California which resulted in two chapters focused on these issues that provide the most significant synthesis of scientific knowledge and research and policy recommendations on these topics in California to date.