MONTEREY, Calif. - Measure Z, an initiative that bans fracking and wastewater injection in Monterey County, may have easily passed in November, but it was only the beginning of a long battle over land rights and more.
"It involves issues of the right to use your land versus the public's right to pass laws affecting the use of land,” said Charles Mckee, Monterey County counsel.
Monterey County is facing six lawsuits from oil companies and landowners alleging unconstitutional taking of private properties.
“There's career(s) at stake. There's financial gains for the county, the tax revenue that comes in,” said Kathy Miller, with Aera Energy, one of the oil companies suing the county.
Those are some of the things that oil producers said the measure will take away.
"For Aera alone, those damages could be pushing a billion dollars,” Miller said.
That's why stakeholders packed the Board of Supervisors’ workshop Tuesday.
While Measure Z restricts oil, gas well simulations and new wells in the county’s unincorporated areas, it also allows the supervisors to grant exemptions.
"We want to make sure that if that exemption process is there, that we can take advantage of that and continue to operate our business as we should be able to legally," Miller said.
But Measure Z supporters said this isn't a free pass for all.
"We would just ask that this be a rarity under Measure Z, under the law. And that it not just be a way for oil companies to acquire multiple exemptions to continue to do the work that they do," said Laura Solaria, with Protect Monterey County.
After getting public feedback Tuesday, the board will come back with a revisited ordinance sometime in September.