Aera Energy LLC has filed a lawsuit in Monterey County Superior Court against Monterey County in response to the passage of Measure Z.
Measure Z is a recently approved ballot measure that would shut down new oil production in the county.
Shutting down operations, as Measure Z requires, would mean the loss of property tax money for the county paid by Aera and the loss of nearly 150 employee and contractor positions.
The lawsuit alleges that the county’s attempt to regulate oil and gas production is preempted by state law administered by the Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) and the Water Resources Control Board.
Oil production in San Ardo, California is produced under the most stringent regulations in the country, according to the state’s regulatory framework.
The lawsuit also claims that the results of the election, and loss of the company's ability to produce oil in Monterey County, constitutes a violation of Aera's vested rights resulting in a taking of its property without just compensation in violation of state and federal constitutions.
Monterey County is the fourth largest oil-producing county in California.