SACRAMENTO, Calif. -

Bills seeking to place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in California are receiving their first public hearing in a packed committee room.

The Assembly Natural Resources Committee is hearing testimony Monday on three bills that would temporarily prohibit fracking. The drilling technique involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into deep rock formations to release oil or natural gas.

The bills call for an advisory committee to review health effects and for lawmakers to approve rules for how fracking can occur. All three bills are carried by Los Angeles-area Democrats.

Fracking has drawn scrutiny as drilling companies look to expand production from one of the country's largest shale oil formations.

State environmental regulators are crafting new rules, but they are not expected to be made final until next year.