Oil companies would have to test groundwater and notify landowners before they do fracking or other well stimulation techniques under draft rules released by the state.
The proposed regulations, considered by state officials to be the toughest in the country, were in response to a bill from state Sen. Fran Pavley that was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into rock formations to release oil or natural gas.
Some environmentalists have called for a fracking timeout, saying the new rules don't do enough.
An industry trade group tells the Los Angeles Times the regulations "strike the right balance."
The rules go into effect in 2015, but there will be emergency regulations beginning in January.