On Friday, April 3, Citadel Exploration filed a request for dismissal in its suit against San Benito County’s Measure J.  Measure J was passed in the November 2014 election and is a ban on high-intensity petroleum operations, which includes hydraulic fracturing, acid well stimulation, and cyclic steam injection.  Citadel initiated this suit in February 2015, arguing that state law preempted Measure J, which is a county law.

The request for dismissal does not carry the weight of precedent or indicate that Measure J is legal, however.  It is still possible for another party to challenge the measure under other circumstances and stating the same legal arguments, such as the measure constitutes an illegal take of property without just compensation.

Proponents of Measure J say that they passed the measure out of frustration with the state government.  Many fracking opponents urge Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking outright in the state, which he has refused to do, in part due to economic benefits of the practice.  There are currently no fracking operations in San Benito County.

By Mike Mills (michael.mills@stoel.com) and Shannon Morrissey.  Ms. Morrissey is a Law Clerk with Stoel Rives LLP and is not currently licensed to practice law in California.