According to the post by attorney Mike Mills, Fran Pavley's AB 4, approved by the mostly Democratic legislature last year and signed by the Governor in January was clearly not intended to halt fracking. The bill instructed DOGGR (California's Department of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources) to allow oil well stimulation practices as long as the noticing and permitting requirements were met.
But, Mills writes:
"The emergency regulations appear to not only have created significantly more problems than they solved for the industry in California, they also have created by administrative regulation the moratorium that the Legislature and Governor rejected at the end of 2013 legislative session."
Yesterday I spoke to a "land man" (for a small oil company in Texas) who has spent substantial time in Ventura County buying mineral rights in recent months. He said that most of the millions of dollars spent in this area on such leases, spurred on by fracking, came from the Occidental and Vintage Petroleum companies, in the Santa Paula and Fillmore areas. He said that despite the millions they have spent there actually has been little development or fracking, due in part to opposition at the county government level.
He speculated out loud — not prompted by yours truly — that most of these leases, which are usually for a five-year span, might not be renewed when they come due starting next year.