Group paying $684 for Measure J legal costs

The group of supporters stands behind the speakers showing support.

San Benito Rising, the grassroots group of local residents that led the effort to pass Measure J in 2014, is reimbursing the county the full $684 cost for legal expenses incurred fighting related litigation.
San Benito County has agreed to accept the $684 reimbursement for costs in defending a lawsuit challenging Measure J, passed by county voters in November 2014, which bans high-intensity forms of petroleum extraction such as fracking.
San Benito Rising had been planning to present a check next Tuesday, but put it off for scheduling reasons.
Citadel Exploration in the spring dropped its lawsuit against the county over the Measure J lawsuit. Citadel had been pursuing the use of cyclic steaming in up to 1,000 oil wells in the Bitterwater area of San Benito County. In November 2014, voters approved Measure J and put a stop to the project. The company followed by filing a $1.2 billion claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, and then a lawsuit alleging state law superseded prohibitions in Measure J.
Citadel initially argued that state law superseded Measure J’s prohibition against steam injections and requested a judgement on whether the initiative, approved by 58.9 percent of voters on the November ballot, should stand.
The county counsel’s office confirmed that $684 was the full cost of outside legal expenses incurred in the Citadel lawsuit. The reimbursement is part of the county establishing a legal defense fund last March after the lawsuit’s filing.
“Cota Cole did 3.8 hours of work related to that complaint, given the quick dismissal by Citadel,” according to an email from Assistant County Administrative Officer Barbara Thompson.

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