American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 37

fornia Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources.
The group claims that its efforts are
behind the LA City Council's June 14,
2017, decision in which, city records
show, the council approved File 17-0447
that called for a study of:
* Half-mile setbacks for all producing
wells;
* How to compensate mineral owners
for lost production; and
* Current and potential health
impacts from production sites and
abandoned oil fields.
"We did not oppose the study," Zierman
says. "Opponents call oil and gas operations dangerous without any scientific
basis, so a study by the city will bring
out the truth.
"We did point out that ending LA oil
production is short-sighted," he adds. "If
our refiners import crude from countries
that don't follow the same environmental
protections, what is gained?"
Zierman deems the setback proposal's
language to be purposely vague, and predicts that if it becomes law it will apply
to any downhole operation, including redrills and workovers. "If operators are
prohibited from bringing any rig on site,
they cannot do the routine maintenance.
Slowly, all the wells will stop producing,"
Zierman reasons. "In 10 years, the industry
will be completely pushed out of the
city."
Elsewhere in California, opposition
groups continue to push anti-development
initiatives and fracturing bans. When
voters in Monterey County passed a measure touted as a ban on hydraulic fracturing
in November 2016, a coalition of companies and royalty owners sued. One year
later, Measure Z, as the initiative was
known, was challenged in Chevron et.
al. v. County of Monterey and largely reversed in a trial before County Superior
Court Judge Thomas Wills.
Although he ruled that state and federal
law pre-empted significant portions of
Measure Z, Wills allowed the fracturing
ban to stand, as both sides acknowledged
the county's lack of fracturing operations,
Zierman explains (see story, page 27).
"The judge ruled that the state and
federal government regulated downhole
operations and that the county couldn't
get involved down hole; it can focus only
on surface impacts," Zierman notes.
True Believers
Ever since a spill north of Santa Barbara, Ca., shut down an oil pipeline, opposition surfaces alongside any plan to
supply crude oil to refineries the pipeline
served, Zierman notes. In Santa Barbara
County, ExxonMobil's efforts to gain

permission to begin transporting crude
by truck from its three shut-in offshore
platforms continues to face county government delays, according to published
reports. A proposal by the company to
operate 70 truckloads daily from a coastal
facility to an inland pipeline station in
Kern County, Ca., was delayed when
county officials requested additional information on traffic, air emissions and
qualitative risks.
In San Luis Obispo County, Ca., protesters held marches and rallies to oppose
a proposal by Phillips 66 to increase rail
deliveries to its Santa Maria refinery on
the Nipomo Mesa in the southern part of
the county. Such delays have forced refiners to pull supply from more distant
sources, with predictable results, Zierman
observes.
"The irony in all this is that more
trucks are driving more miles to keep
the refineries running," Zierman notes.
"Opponents were willing to ruin the environment, damage highways, decimate
school budgets and put people out of
work simply to say they shut down offshore production.
"Shutting down oil production in
Southern California has become a religious
belief for these people," he muses.
According To Plan
After heading the Denver-based Western Energy Alliance for five years, Tim
Wigley joined the Oklahoma Independent
Petroleum Association in 2016 and became
its president in 2017. In that short time,
he says, opposition groups have looked
to secure a foothold in the Sooner State
with the Colorado playbook.
"They have a plan," Wigley warns.
"Sometimes, they put candidates up for
local elections. Other times they organize
students in a college town, or they show
up at planning commission meetings and
push for zoning changes. But it's always
at the town or county level."
"They have not succeeded anywhere
in Oklahoma yet, but you can hear chirping
in the background," he describes. "It is a
discussion our Board of Directors is
having because we cannot afford to ignore
the chatter."
In 2015, the Oklahoma Legislature
passed a bill to prohibit local governments from banning fracturing, which
was modeled after similar legislation
passed in Texas, Wigley notes. Shortly
thereafter, the town council in Stillwater,
home of Oklahoma State University,
passed an ordinance regulating new
drilling in the city.
According to published reports, the
ordinance establishes a 660-foot setback
from "protected use" buildings, including

homes, churches and schools. It also prohibits new houses from being built within
400 feet of an existing oil and gas well,
and set a 69 decibel noise limit.
The ordinance remains in place, indicates A.J. Ferate, OIPA vice president
of regulatory affairs. "We were not prepared to legally challenge the case, since
we would not have standing," Ferate explains. Nevertheless, he adds, the ordinance "is certainly challengeable and
we would like to see an operator pursue
that case."
Wigley says he has asked the OIPA
Board of Directors to consider hiring a
community relations director to establish
face-to-face contact with communities
across Oklahoma. The position would
involve "staying in tune with what is
happening at the local level," Wigley describes. "There is also an information
and education role about what neighbors
can expect to see and hear."
Oklahoma communities differ in many
ways from those in Colorado, Wigley assesses. "When there are jobs, the schools
are funded and there is money to fix the
roads, protests are less likely," he relates.
"But that comes with a price and we
have to do a better job of connecting
drilling with positive community impacts."
Another lesson Wigley attributes to
his Western Energy Alliance tenure is
that demographics drive opposition, even
in oil-friendly Oklahoma.
"Our population is changing," he notes.
"Cities are spreading out and we must
manage the rural/urban interface. Oklahoma has companies that understand the
importance of keeping in touch. It is
more than simply supporting schools and
local charities. You have to hold town
hall meetings and keep in regular contact
with local elected officials."
The Long Game
Ultimately, numerous industry leaders
agree, local oil and gas opposition will
not go quietly, even after defeats at the
polls and in the courtroom.
"Some of these people organized after
the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and they
are still at it," Zierman considers.
"I tell my board that stuff rolls downhill
and that we have to pay attention to what
happens in Colorado because it can happen
here," Wigley says.
"What we have exposed about CELDF
makes it clear that isn't happening only
in Ohio," Stewart warns. "This is a highly
coordinated national effort. It is like a
game of whack-a-mole that keeps going.
One of the most important things we can
do is expose the ultimate goal and the
cost it will exact from a community." r
FEBRUARY 2018 37



American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018

Contents
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