NARO CA President Ed Hazard and attorney Jacqueline Zischke shake hands outside the Monterey Courthouse after filing the lawsuit.
NARO CA Vice President and lead council, Ed Renwick
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San Ardo is a tiny community which sleeps among the agricultural fields in the southern reaches of Monterey County, a place where both land owners and their employees, people who depend on each other, live virtually side-by-side. A place where the locals meet at the solitary eatery, the San Ardo Cafe, to talk things over. A place where pleasantries are exchanged when residents stop by the local Post Office to pick up their mail. This is the kind of place where a stranger passing through generates a wave and a sometimes curious look. San Ardo is the kind of place which, at least outwardly, doesn’t seem to have changed much over the last seventy years or so. San Ardo is certainly an unlikely place to be the epicenter of a legal battle which, if lost, could mean the end of the onshore oil business in California.
Just a few freeway minutes south of the town lies the San Ardo oilfield, blessed with a unique geology which resulted in a large concentration of oil reserves which were first developed during the 1940’s. It is California’s seventh largest producing oilfield with some 1,420 wells currently operating. In 2016 these wells produced a total of 7.925 million barrels of oil. The San Ardo oilfield is the principal economic driver of the south county economy, providing substantial employment, income, and tax revenues to an otherwise rural economy. As just one example, the local school district derives a large portion of its revenues from property taxes generated by the San Ardo oilfield. Throughout its life, the San Ardo field has produced its oil safely and responsibly, using modern techniques to enhance its production and dispose of its waste with no evidence of undue pollution or environmental harm.
Several years ago things began to change for San Ardo, for Monterey County, and for all of oil-producing California, as environmental activists focused on shutting down oil and gas production. Teaming up with a San Francisco environmental law firm and outsiders like... to read the rest of the article, click here.