County sued over denial of oil drilling plan by The Associated Press, November 23, 2012
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF. — The oil exploration company Excelaron LLC has filed a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against San Luis Obispo County after the Board of Supervisors rejected a plan for extracting crude oil from beneath rural Huasna Valley. The lawsuit filed Nov. 19 in Superior Court claims the decision rendered Excelaron’s mineral rights valueless, the Tribune of San Luis Obispo reported this week. That decision constitutes a “regulatory taking of property” without just compensation, the suit alleges. Excelaron claimed the 720-acre field sits atop 208 million barrels of oil, of which 30 percent is recoverable and at $100 a barrel is worth $6.24 billion. The suit also seeks to recover other expenses such as more than $500,000 spent on an environmental report.
Residents of the agricultural region were concerned about protecting their quality of life, and other opponents feared approval of drilling would open the county to a new wave of oil speculation. In August, after five years of controversy, county supervisors voted unanimously to deny Excelaron’s plans to drill as many as a dozen wells in Huasna Valley. Supervisors were concerned that an oil field would be incompatible with the rustic, isolated valley. Concerns ranged from fire danger to traffic, safety and noise. County planning staff and the Planning Commission had previously come out against the drilling plan. Excelaron’s lawsuit claims the county abused its discretion and based its decisions on findings not supported by evidence. The company also contends it has lost all use and value in its property, noting that because it only owns the mineral rights but not the surface, there is no other economically viable use. Huasna Valley is about 175 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Excelaron files $6.24 billion lawsuit against SLO County by Bob Cuddy, November 21, 2012, The Tribune News
In a suit filed Nov. 19 in Superior Court, Excelaron LLC says the county’s denial of its application Aug. 21 constitutes a “regulatory taking of (its) property” without just compensation. Excelaron said it “has suffered a complete denial of all use and value in its property.” It calculated what it considers proper compensation in the following way: The 720-acre oil field, Excelaron asserts, sits atop 208,000,000 barrels of oil. At $100 per barrel, the gross value of the oil in the reservoir is $20.8 billion. Of that, 30 percent is recoverable, or $6.24 billion worth. County Supervisor Adam Hill said the amount being sought makes this one of the largest, if not the largest lawsuit in San Luis Obispo County’s history. Excelaron also wants attorney’s fees and other expenses. It didn’t list them, but in its petition, Excelaron complains that it spent more than half a million dollars, much of it on an environmental impact report, to have its application reviewed. It also claimed that the planning department blindsided it one week before the Planning Commission hearing by opposing the application. The legal filing is a litany of what Excelaron considers ill treatment by the county, leading it to conclude that “the county’s actions were arbitrary and capricious (and) the county acted with blatant regard for (Excelaron’s) rights.”
The controversial proposal roused strong opposition in both Arroyo Grande and Huasna, a bucolic corner of San Luis Obispo County 10 miles east of Arroyo Grande. … Claims made in civil suits give only one side of a case.
Excelaron lawsuit against County of San Luis Obispo
[Refer also to: Canadian taxpayers could be on hook for Quebec fracking decision because of NAFTA Chapter 11 that protects corporations even if they risk health, the public interest and environment to take profit