San Luis Obispo County's Huasna Valley is one of the most beautiful open space areas along the California coast. As a native Californian who has passed through it many times, I can recall times where the landscape was awash in California poppies and winters where it was green and lush, dotted with winter-barren trees. It's home to hawks and deer, with patches of coastal vineyards criss-crossing the landscape.
It's also home to oil reserves that offshore companies are anxious to tap. About two years ago, a company by the name of Excelaron filed for the right to drill for that oil in the hills surrounding the valley. Excelaron, Canadian-owned exploration company, mounted a large-scale public relations campaign to convince area residents that it was just fine to drill for oil in the unmarred hills surrounding their homes, ranches, and vineyards.
Last August, San Luis Obispo County denied their permit to drill, which effectively ended their public relations tour and began a legal battle over property rights.
Excelaron claims the permit denial amounts to a "regulatory taking of property" by government. Further, because the permit was denied, the company says it is entitled to damages equal to the value of the oil it could have recovered had the permit been approved."