In November 2016 voters of Monterey County, California, passed a fracking ban known as Measure Z with 56 percent of the vote, despite being outspent 30-to-1 by the industry-backed group, Monterey County Citizens for Energy Independence.
Passing Measure Z makes Monterey the sixth California county to ban fracking, but the first to face a serious legal challenge.
So the struggle continues. In December 2016, Protect Monterey County became the target of two lawsuits filed by oil companies Chevron and Aera Energy against the county, with the aim of blocking implementation of Measure Z. Don’t let the oil industry undermine the will of the people. Don’t let the petroleum industry decide Monterey County’s future. Visit the Protect Monterey County website to LEARN MORE and TAKE ACTION!
History and Current Status of Measure Z:
On March 19, 2014, the county board of supervisors voted three against two in opposition to a proposed two-year moratorium on fracking – despite a unanimous recommendation by the Planning Commission, and thousands of letters, emails and demands from residents. In response, a group of county residents met to discuss and formulate the citizen initiative that later became Measure Z. The newly formed citizen group was named Protect Monterey County.
On November 8, 2016, the voters of Monterey County approved Measure Z, an initiative to impose a ban on new oil and gas operations in Monterey County’s unincorporated areas. The initiative was designed by Protect Monterey County to prohibit the use of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, as well as other high-intensity methods of oil and gas extraction, such as acid stimulation. The measure als0 prohibited new land uses that utilize oil and gas wastewater injection and impoundment and phased out those in operation.
On December 12, 2016, the Board of Supervisors, in a closed session, entered into an agreement with the oil companies (who are currently suing the County) to indefinitely halt the implementation of Measure Z with an indefinite Stay Order.
On December 14, 2016, Chevron and Aera Energy, the two biggest companies drilling in Central California’s San Ardo fields, both filed lawsuits in Superior Court of Monterey County against Monterey County to block implementation of Measure Z, alleging that it restricts how they can use their property. Both lawsuits claim that the county does not have jurisdiction over oil and gas operations and that Measure Z amounts to an unconstitutional taking of private property without just compensation. The San Ardo Union Elementary School District also joined Chevron’s lawsuit due to the fact that much of their funding comes from property taxes, 89 percent of which comes from the oilfield where the company operates.
On January 9, 2017, citizens demanded transparency concerning the implementation of Measure Z. PMC demanded that the Board of Supervisors cancel the indefinite Stay Order and conduct all future proceedings concerning Measure Z implementation in public session, with public input, as required by the Brown Act.
On March 17, 2017, Monterey County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wills ruled that the group behind the measure, Protect Monterey County, had standing to join the lawsuit as an intervening party. In addition, a group of South County mineral rights owners filed a lawsuit against Measure Z on March 13, 2017, and Eagle Petroleum also filed a suit on March 17, 2017.
On June 7, 2017, Measure Z legal team and supporters attended a hearing in Superior Court in Monterey, CA to uphold the will of the people in the face of lawsuits by Chevron, Aera Energy & others challenging Measure Z. Judge Thomas Wills set the schedule for Phase 1. The trial date is November 13, 2017.
Help Defend Measure Z:
Your gift will go towards assuring that the intentions of Measure Z are fully implemented by county regulators, and not undermined or weakened by the challenges of the oil industry.
How to contribute: You can make a secure donation through Paypal (you needn’t have an account) with your credit card.
If you prefer to mail your contribution, please send your check, payable to PMC, and mail to:
P.O. Box 1946
Monterey, CA 93942