Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, April 2, 2018

Contact:  Hollin Kretzmann, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 844-7133,
Dr. Laura Solorio, Protect Monterey County, (831) 229-5284,
Andy Hsia-Coron, Protect Monterey County, (831) 726-3350,

Monterey County Supervisors to Decide on Hames Valley Oil Drilling

Permit to Drill Wells in New Area up for Review After Measure Z Passage

SALINAS, Calif.— The Monterey County Board of Supervisors will determine whether to allow a new multi-well oil and gas project to move forward at its meeting on Tuesday, April 3.

Trio Petroleum is appealing the planning commission’s denial of a permit that would have allowed the Bakersfield-based company to drill new wells in an undeveloped oil field in Monterey County. It would be the first major oil and gas project since voters passed Measure Z, a land-use law banning new wells in the county.

“The voters were loud and clear that we don’t want expanded oil development in our community,” said Dr. Laura Solorio, a member of Protect Monterey County, Measure Z’s official sponsor. “The planning commission made the right call. We just can’t keep drilling new wells forever. It’s time to move away from fossil fuels and toward a safer, healthier future.”

Trio proposes drilling four new oil wells in Hames Valley. The company says it would potentially lead to dozens more production wells and millions of barrels of oil. On Jan. 31 the planning commission rejected the application by a 6-3 vote, citing concerns about the project’s harm to air, water and the climate. Some also noted that Measure Z’s passage indicates county residents are opposed to new oil and gas projects.

“We risk losing a beautiful part of Monterey County to dangerous oil-industry pollution if these wells are approved,” said Hollin Kretzmann, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope county supervisors listen to the planning commission and the voters and deny this oil company’s desperate appeal.”

Oil companies sued Monterey County after Measure Z passed to halt its implementation. A Superior Court judge upheld parts of Measure Z, but invalidated the provision that would have prohibited drilling new wells like the ones Trio is proposing. Both the county and Protect Monterey County have filed appeals to reinstate the law.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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