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Monterey Co. ruling on Measure Z expected to affect other counties with similar measures

January 3, 2018


Thomas Leyde,

December 30, 2017-

A Monterey County Superior Court judge announced his intended decision Thursday in a challenge by several interests to Measure Z, the anti-fracking initiative passed by county voters in 2016. Judge Thomas Wills’ decision came just six weeks after taking the case under submission. Lawyers familiar with the issue said the ruling will likely affect all California counties, including San Benito County, in the same way.

Judge Wills found that state and federal laws pre-empt county laws regarding the regulation of injecting underground oil wells with water and steam and the prohibition of new oil wells. The ban on fracking remains in place, while the oil industry can continue to drill new wells and inject them with water and steam. However, there is no fracking going on in either counties due to the depth of the oil and soil types. Oil drilling in Monterey County is done in the San Ardo and Lynch Canyon areas.

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