We've seen plenty of ink spilled (and blog space filled) this session over the legislative push to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, wherein a mix of chemicals and water is shot underground to shatter rock formations containing oil and gas. Much has been made of the implications for towns sitting atop California's vast Monterey Shale, and the risks to wells and water supplies.
The concerns don't stop at the coast. A recent series of reports have detailed fracking in the Pacific Ocean, prompting California lawmakers to disseminate letters asking the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Coastal Commission to investigate.
The state Coastal Commission responds today, with deputy director Alison Dettmer discussing offshore fracking during a commission meeting in Santa Cruz. Plenty of questions remain -- it's unclear who the lead regulatory agency would be, for example, as things get murky depending on if you're in federal or state waters. Today's meeting should provide some clarity, or at least a gauge of how seriously the coastal commission views the issue.
VIDEO: Speaking of fracking, Dan Walters says the effort to create a regulatory framework for fracking is one of the key remaining issues this session.
PAYROLL PROBLEMS: A few days after the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes released a report faulting the state controller's office for bungling an attempted new payroll system, the Senate Budget And Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 4 is holding a hearing examining what went awry with the "21st Century Project." Representatives from the controller's office -- but not State Controller John Chiang -- are expected to testify. (If you're in the mood for a little theorizing, Dan Walters thinks lawmakers had a reason to go after Chiang).
WATERWAYS AND MEANS: With the 2014 ballot creeping ever closer, questions about a planned water bond measure continue to bubble up. The Assembly Water, Parks And Wildlife Committee has an informational hearing on constructing the water bond scheduled to start after session adjourns today, in room 4022.
HACKS AND PACS: Some of the better known operatives and wonks in the California political world will converge on The Firehouse Restaurant this afternoon for a discussion of what the 2014 elections will bring. Moderated by data-cruncher Paul Mitchell and Nooner scribe Scott Lay, the panel will feature Kathy Bowler of Vectis Strategies, Jon Fleischman of FlashReport.org, Steve "Spinner" Maviglio of Forza Communications, Jason Kinney of California Strategies, Amy Thoma of Stutzman Public Affairs and Matt Rexroad of Meridian Pacific. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with proceeds going to the Leadership California Institute.
PHOTO: This file photo taken April 12, 2005, shows the oil platform Gilda in federal waters in the Santa Barbara Channel off Ventura. The Santa Barbara News-Press/ Steve Malone