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Excelaron's $6.24 billion lawsuit over Huasna oil-drilling plan is dismissed

Excelaron proposed oil drilling at sites on the second ridge behind the Mankins Ranch in the Huasna Valley east of Arroyo Grande.
Excelaron proposed oil drilling at sites on the second ridge behind the Mankins Ranch in the Huasna Valley east of Arroyo Grande. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

A $6.24 billion lawsuit against San Luis Obispo County over a failed oil development plan in the Huasna Valley is over.

San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Martin Tangeman this week affirmed his tentative ruling granting the county’s request to have the case thrown out because it was not served on the county within a 90-day deadline.

“It will result in a dismissal of the case,” said Whitney McDonald, deputy county counsel who handled the case

Tangeman issued a tentative ruling earlier this month granting the county’s request for a demurrer. On March 6, he heard oral arguments in the case and deferred a final ruling until this week.

The oil exploration company Excelaron had applied to drill for oil in the rural Huasna Valley east of Arroyo Grande. The proposal drew intense opposition, and it went all the way to the Board of Supervisors who unanimously voted to deny the application late last year.

Excelaron sued the county alleging that the supervisors and planning commission failed to examine alternatives that could have reduced the project’s environmental impacts, thereby depriving the company of its property rights.

The $6.24 billion sum sought by Excelaron was based on the estimated value of the oil the company could have recovered if the project had been approved.

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