On Tuesday, March 17, Monterey County’s Board of Supervisors voted against a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing.  In the 3-2 vote, the majority of Supervisors stated that there is “no evidence of an immediate threat to public health” and no pressing need to regulate fracking on the local level.  There are currently no oil and gas operations that utilize hydraulic fracturing methods in the county.

The issue came before the Board of Supervisors by recommendation from the county’s Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission proposed the moratorium as an amendment to Monterey County’s zoning code on April 30, 2014 – almost a full year before the Supervisors voted on the issue.  (County of Monterey Well Stimulation Proposed Ordinance REF130051.)

Ultimately, the Supervisors decided to hold off on local regulation and wait for the state to implement regulations under Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”), California’s comprehensive well stimulation treatment regulation.  Permanent regulations under SB 4 go into effect on July 1, 2015.

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.