Description: Challenge to county zoning ordinance amendments that would purportedly authorize development of thousands new oil and gas wells annually, as well as related construction and operational activities, without further site-specific assessment.
King & Gardiner Farms LLC v. County of Kern
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/11/2018 Appeal Appeals filed. Parties Filed Appeals of California Court Ruling That Rejected CEQA Claims About Oil and Gas Ordinance’s Greenhouse Gas Impacts. In June 2018, environmental groups and an almond farm appealed a California state court ruling that largely upheld the California Environmental Quality Act review for a Kern County ordinance that the environmental groups said would authorize thousands of oil and gas wells annually without additional assessment. An energy company also appealed the trial court’s order, which rejected the company’s contract clause, equal protection, and due process claims.
Vaquero Energy Inc. v. County of Kern
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/12/2018 Ruling Download Ruling issued largely rejecting CEQA and other claims. In March 2018, the trial court rejected, among other arguments, the environmental groups’ contention that greenhouse gas mitigation measures would not be effective. The court noted that three regulatory mitigation measures would apply and that for emissions not addressed by those measures applicants for permits could choose from three options to reduce emissions to “no net increase”: (1) verified reductions by the applicant; (2) acquisition of offset credits; and (3) inclusion in an emission reduction agreement. Because the environmental groups did not object to the effectiveness of directly reducing emissions, the court said their challenge to the remaining two options was academic. The court also said the groups did not exhaust administrative remedies, but nonetheless also concluded on the merits that substantial evidence supported the County’s determination that the “no net increase” measures would be effective. The court also found that the environmental impact report adequately disclosed and analyzed long-term impacts to climate, including greenhouse gas emissions between 2035 and 2050. 10/17/2016 Answer Download Response and answer filed by County of Kern and Kern County Board of Supervisors. 12/10/2015 Petition for Writ of Mandate Download Petition for writ of mandate & complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief filed. Groups Filed Lawsuit Challenging California County Ordinance That Established Permitting Process for Oil and Gas Projects. Environmental and community groups filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court against Kern County challenging amendments to the County zoning ordinance that would purportedly authorize development of up to 3,647 new oil and gas wells annually, as well as related construction and operational activities, without further site-specific assessment. The groups said that the final environmental impact report (EIR) prepared under the California Environmental Quality Act for the ordinance failed to disclose the extent and severity of impacts. The petitioners’ enumeration of the final EIR’s shortcomings included an alleged failure to explain how the activities authorized by the ordinance will comply with state-mandated greenhouse gas reduction targets. The petitioners also alleged that the County failed to support the conclusion that mitigation measures would reduce greenhouse gas impacts to insignificant levels.