"SB 1132 asserted that the state has “historically failed to appropriately monitor or track well stimulation activity and to study its effects,” writes Sandy Mazza of the Daily Breeze. Anti-drilling activists, many of whom were organized under "Californians Against Fracking", chalked up the bill's defeat to "the petroleum and natural gas industry’s lobbying efforts (that) have corrupted the legislative process with huge campaign donations," writes Mazza.
The San Diego Free Press was more specific: "The defeat of the legislation was undoubtedly due to the huge amounts of money dumped into lobbying the Legislature by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, and oil companies," writes Dan Bacher of Indymedia.
However, WSPA did not appear to rejoice in their victory. The bill's defeat "clears a path for a concerted and collaborative effort to fully implement new statewide regulations embodied in Senate Bill 4," they blogged. That bill, touted as the nation's strongest in monitoring fracking, was only signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last September as we noted then. It requires independent scientific study which SB 1132 proponents argued was insufficient.
Fracking opponents, while disappointed, are not discouraged.
“It won’t be today. It may not be next week. But Californians will ultimately put an end to fracking and other extreme extraction methods that threaten our great state’s future,” vowed Kathryn Phillips, executive director of Sierra Club California in a press release (PDF).
However, the greatest impediment to fracking in California may not be regulatory but technological, according to the most recent assessment by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that reduced the amount of recoverable oil from the state's vast Monterey Shale formation (see map) by 96%, as we noted last month.