Proponents of Measure Z and members of the general public demand:

  1. that all future proceedings and decision making regarding implementation of Measure Z be conducted in open public session with full disclosure of all proposed implementation procedures and relevant documents and

  2.  that the Board of Supervisors cancel the Stay Order, the secret backdoor deal made with Big Oil to indefinitely block implementation of Measure Z.

DETAILS:Chevron, Shell/ExxonMobil (Aera Energy) and other parties have filed lawsuits against Monterey County seeking to delay and block implementation of Measure Z.  (Chevron et al. v. County of Monterey, No. 16-CV-3978; Aera Energy et al. No. 16-CV-3980.)

On December 12, 2016, the Board of Supervisors, in a closed session entered into a secret agreement with the oil companies suing the County to indefinitely block implementation of Measure Z.  Neither the general public nor PMC were given notice of the intended adoption of this secret agreement or opportunity to observe or have input into the decision to grant Big Oil indefinite immunity from the requirements of Measure Z.  On December 14, 2016, without notice to the public or PMC, attorneys for the County and the oil companies went to court jointly requesting and obtaining a “Stay Order” blocking implementation of Measure Z.

The Stay Order postpones the “effective date” of Measure Z indefinitely (this means that all aspects of Measure Z are blocked in their entirety while the indefinite Stay is in effect, including the bans on fracking, new drilling and toxic wastewater injection).  Without this secret backdoor agreement and Stay Order, Measure Z would have come into full force and effect and immediately applied to all oil producers on December 23, 2016.

The Stay Order grants the oil companies an indefinite right to wholly disregard and freely violate all provisions of Measure Z, giving them a green light to continue dangerous oil production practices unabated including fracking, expanded drilling, and daily dumping of more than 10.3 million gallons of toxic waste into Monterey County’s protected aquifers.

Under the backdoor deal with the oil companies, the Board of Supervisors may adopt implementation procedures allowing the oil companies to apply for and obtain blanket exemptions from Measure Z, possibly in closed sessions unless the Board’s current course of illicit secret proceedings is abandoned in favor of complete transparency as required by law.  The oil companies may gain advantage under secretly adopted procedures to obtain blanket exemptions from Measure Z from the County even before the Measure goes into effect. The current indefinite Stay Order essentially renders Measure Z’s regulatory provisions wholly invalid and unenforceable.  That is why PMC will demand that the Board of Supervisors conduct all future proceedings concerning Measure Z implementation in public session with public input as required by the Brown Act.

Bean_sign.jpgPMC member Beverly Bean said “these secret Star Chamber proceedings indefinitely blocking implementation of Measure Z are an outrageous repudiation of the overwhelming mandate and will of the voters.  When the people’s business is conducted in secret, the people always lose.  The people lost round 1, we do not intend to let that happen again.”  

On behalf of PMC, Dr. Bean, this morning served public records requests on County Administrator Bauman, County Counsel Charles McKee and the Board of Supervisors seeking disclosure of records and information relating to implementation procedures for Measure Z.  California law provides that “access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.”  Bean said “PMC has repeatedly offered and fully intends to cooperate with and assist the County in vigorously defending Measure Z in court, but it is shameful that the County has instead conspired with the oil companies suing the County to sabotage implementation of Measure Z.




Thanks to everyone who worked so hard for so long to win Measure Z. Now it's time to defend and implement! 

Aera Energy, (jointly owned by Shell Oil Company and ExxonMobil) and Chevron have filed separate lawsuits against Monterey County to halt implementation of Measure Z. They are claiming vested rights and asking for state preemption. Since Measure Z specifically allows current operations to continue, and simply prohibits dumping toxic wastewater into our deep aquifers, we believe it is able to withstand such challenges. It is imperative that we remain strong to protect our water. 

Monterey Becomes First Major Oil-Producing County in California to Ban Fracking

Measure Z - County of Monterey

195/195 100.00%
Vote      Count      Percent
    YES       73,859     56.07%
   NO        57,872      43.93%
    Total     131,731    100.00%

Left to count 1,337 ballots


Cheers.jpgMonterey becomes the seventh California county to ban fracking and the first major oil-producing county to do so. Both the oil industry and citizen groups opposed to fracking have been watching this ballot measure closely. Fracking opponents expect this victory to mark a turning point in California state and national efforts to protect water, land, and the climate from destructive oil operations.

The Protect Monterey County coalition of small businesses, labor unions, teachers, farmers, students, health professionals, and others were outspent by at least 30 to one as oil companies, led by Chevron and Aera Energy, reported spending nearly $5.5 million to defeat the measure. 

Please consider a donation of whatever you are able to afford to help retire the campaign debt. Some volunteers contributed greatly out-of-pocket. Please say Thank You with your contribution.

Please help recycle the signs, they will be used for the next fracking ban initiative by replacing the Z with whatever letter is assigned. Call 831-224-3125 for how to recycle or bring them to the party, (details on the EVENTS page). 

What does Measure Z do?
  • Bans fracking, acidizing, and other risky well stimulation production methods.

Why? The Monterey Shale Formation underlies substantial portions of the County. Oil companies have already used fracking and acidizing in south Monterey County and they view this shale formation as an area for future expansion via fracking and acidizing methods.

  • Bans new, and phases out existing, wastewater injection and wastewater ponds.

Why? The San Ardo oil field produces 328,379 barrels (13.8 million gallons) of toxic wastewater every day. The oil companies reinject 75% of this toxic wastewater back into protected aquifers and treats the remaining third. By phasing out the use of wastewater injection and wastewater ponds over a five-year period, this initiative requires these oil companies to clean all of the toxic wastewater they currently produce.

  • Bans new oil and gas wells within Monterey County.

Why? New drilling relies on new high risk extraction methods, which endanger our water, health, and economy, and greatly increase the potential for earthquakes.

  • This initiative does not prohibit the continuing operation of Monterey County’s 1,500+ existing oil and gas wells. 

No jobs will be lost. In fact, new jobs will be created when the oil companies comply with their responsibility to treat produced wastewater.



Protect Monterey County is a coalition of residents of the Central Coast region working to pass a citizens' initiative to prevent the harmful impacts of extreme oil extraction methods. 

We took action because we had no response from elected officials about the dangers of fracking and other extreme oil recovery methods. 



Monterey Peninsula and Salinas Valley offices

521 South Main St, Salinas 
(Corner of John St. & Main) 


1340 Munras Ave., Ste. 308


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Mailing Address:
Protect Monterey County
P.O. Box 1946
Monterey, CA 93942