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California Supreme Court to hear Monterey County oil, gas drilling case

KSBW Monterey-Salinas 5/24/2023 David Aguilar
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The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Thursday in a case regarding Monterey County's Measure Z.

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In 2016, voters approved the measure, which banned hydraulic fracturing or fracking, prohibited new oil and gas wells, and phased out wastewater injection wells. The measure has been tied up in legal challenges and appeals ever since.

Lawsuits from six companies, including Chevron, resulted in a trial court overturning parts of the measure in December 2017.

Proponents of the measure, Protect Monterey County, appealed the ruling to the Sixth District Court of Appeal.

In October 2021, the appeals court unanimously upheld the lower court's decision, ruling the measure violates state law. Protect Monterey County appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court.

Chevron argues that Measure Z should be preempted and void because it conflicts with state law. Protect Monterey County argues that the restrictions approved in the measure are a valid use of "longstanding local power to make such decisions."

Justices will hear oral arguments from both sides Thursday, May 25. The Measure Z case is the second case on the docket for the court's 1:30 p.m. session. A live stream of the proceeding is available on the judicial branch website.


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