Monterey County WILPF members help pass anti-fracking measure

Monterey County WILPF members

Yes on Z. Credit: Courtesy of Protect Monterey County

By Judy Karas, co-chair, WILPF Monterey County Branch

Many WILPF members in Monterey County, California, were actively involved (instrumental, some would say) in helping to pass a local ballot measure banning fracking and other damaging drilling-related practices in the county. WILPF member Jeanne Turner serves as treasurer for the Protect Monterey County group that put the measure on the ballot for November. There’s still work to be done, as oil companies are filing lawsuits against the county and Measure Z. But it is a victory, something to be grateful for.

From the Protect Monterey County website:

“Monterey becomes the seventh California county to ban fracking and the first major oil-producing county to do so, with a remarkable 56% of the vote. Both the oil industry and citizen groups opposed to fracking have been watching this ballot measure closely. Fracking opponents view this victory as 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.

“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.”

Donations are welcome to carry us through the implementation and defense phase. They can be securely made through the Protect Monterey County website DONATE page. One can also mail a check to Protect Monterey County, Attn. Jeanne Turner c/o P.O. Box 1946, Monterey, CA 93942. “We are grateful to have promises of experienced environmental legal help, and ongoing contributions are welcome to help keep up sustained public pressure to be sure the public will is carried out.”


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