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May 12, 2017

Two County Fracking Prohibitions Succeed While One Fails: Exactly what the Voting Leads to Santa Barbara, San Benito, and Mendocino Counties Mean for that Oil & Gas Industry in California

Two County Fracking Prohibitions Succeed While One Fails: Exactly what the Voting Leads to Santa Barbara, San Benito, and Mendocino Counties Mean for that Oil & Gas Industry in California

On Election Day, Tuesday, November. 4, three counties in California presented voters with measures to ban hydraulic fracturing along with other types of intensive gas and oil operations. Voters in Santa Barbara County rejected the measure there, while voters in San Benito and Mendocino Counties approved their particular ballot measures.

Santa Barbara’s Measure P might have banned using “high-intensity” oil extraction methods, including fracking, by future gas and oil projects on unincorporated county land. Measure J, the San Benito County Fracking Ban Initiative, also bans “high-intensity oil operations,” including fracking, acidity well stimulation, and cyclic steam injection. Furthermore, it bans any new gas or oil drilling activity in residential and rural areas within the County. Measure J passed 57% to 43%. The Mendocino County Community Bill of Legal rights Fracking and Water Use Initiative, Measure S, bans “unconventional extraction of hydrocarbons,” including fracking. The ordinance results in a strict liability plan for damages to the person or property inside Mendocino County brought on by unconventional extraction. Measure S passed 67% to 33%.

Exactly what does this suggest for that industry? Tuesday’s votes really are a mixed bag for industry, as Santa Barbara is really a significant gas and oil producing county, and San Benito, while presently missing the development figures of Santa Barbara, has significant reserves within its jurisdiction that need unconventional extraction strategies to produce. The election in Mendocino County, by comparison, is basically symbolic, as there’s no measurable gas and oil development inside the County’s borders. We expect that mixed results may place a damper on future ballot measures, and sure result in a legal challenge from the San Benito measure on takings grounds, along with other legal theories.

California wasn’t the only real condition with fracking prohibitions on Tuesday’s ballot. Denton, Texas grew to become the very first city in Texas to ban fracking having a ballot measure that went by a sizable margin: 59% to 41%. This election was encircled in debate, because there are about 275 fracked wells within Denton’s city limits, located atop the Barnett shale play. Athens, Ohio also passed a stride banning fracking.

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