The Senate Joint Natural Resources and Environmental Quality Committee is discussing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a method of extracting oil and gas by smashing underground rocks.

California regulators drafted rules to govern the environmentally controversial process on Dec. 17.

Some senators have criticized the proposed rules as too weak. Committee Chair Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, has introduced a bill with its own rules.

From the Associated Press:

California currently oversees oil well construction generally but had not previously required disclosure of fracking.

Under the draft regulations, operators would usually have to name the chemicals they use and test wells to ensure the drilling process could be withstood without contaminating groundwater.

Fracking has been quietly going on for decades in several counties, including Los Angeles, Kern, Monterey and Sacramento. Other states use the technique to recover natural gas.

Watch Live Video: Calif. Senate Committee Debates Fracking 12 February,2013Laird Harrison

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