Idle Oil Well Emission Testing Bill Passes First Committee

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Chris Holden’s legislation that requires idle and abandoned oil and gas wells be tested for hydrocarbon emissions, Assembly Bill 3146, passed the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources. This bill also requires results from these tested oil and gas wells to be collected and publically reported by the Department of Conservation.

“There are over 25,000 oil and gas wells across California, many close to where people live, that can emit harmful chemicals into our air undetected,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden.  “We need to know how much and how often these wells are emitting pollutants in order to protect public health.”

Idle, abandoned and hazardous oil and gas sites may be remediated through well plugging. However there are no requirements for operators or the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources to test these wells for greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.

Some peer-reviewed research is available on the amount of emissions from idle and abandoned wells, but current research is limited and primarily available for sites outside California – meaning California is unable to accurately quantify the public health, air quality and climate benefits from its remediation actions.

“AB 3146 will help solve a critical knowledge gap associated with aging oil and gas infrastructure in California” said Holden.