Protecting La Habra Heights From Fracking

Earthjustice filed suit to protect the rights of voters to have a fair and impartial election process and exert local control over rampant and invasive oil and gas proposals that have surfaced in the City of La Habra Heights.


Center for Biological DiversityLa Habra Heights Oil Watch


Adrian Martinez

Regional Office / Program

Case Overview

Residents of La Habra Heights, CA, proposed “The Healthy City Initiative,” also known as Measure A, for inclusion on the March 2015 ballot after mounting concerns over the environmental and health effects more invasive drilling would have on their community. If passed, the initiative would prohibit new oil and gas well development, and prevent high-intensity techniques like “fracking” from being used.

On December 1, 2014 the City caved to litigation pressures from an industry-backed lawsuit to include language on the March 2015 ballot that inaccurately summarizes the language that was circulated to and signed by voters in order to place the initiative on the ballot in the first place. The new language paints Measure A as much broader than it actually is by deceiving the public about the scope of its coverage.

If passed in March, this initiative would prohibit land use for drilling new oil and gas wells, new high-intensity petroleum operations like hydraulic fracturing, and the reactivation of idle wells. The initiative would also ensure that operators with vested rights, including rights to use high-intensity techniques, could continue their operations.

On December 31, 2014, The Los Angeles Superior Court ruled in favor of La Habra Heights residents by rejecting inaccurate oil and gas-backed language from being included in a March 2015 ballot initiative. The Court ordered the City to revise the language. The community-proposed initiative aims to ban new oil and gas development, including high-intensity practices like fracking and acid well stimulation that have been linked to serious health and environmental impacts.

A sign hangs by an oil field in California, warning of hazardous fumes.
A sign hangs by an oil field in California, warning of hazardous fumes. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

Case Updates

LA Oil Field
March 5, 2015 Article

La Habra Heights Fight Against Oil Continues

One election does not defeat the resolve of local community members concerned about big oil ruining their town.

Oil wells near La Habra, 1920s
January 8, 2015 Article: Victory

Small Town Seeks Fair Fight in Battling Oil Industry’s Expansion

Recently, residents of La Habra Heights, California, rang in the New Year with a victory that ensures the small town will have a fair chance at banning new oil and gas drilling come election time.

January 7, 2015 document

Decision: La Habra Heights Residents Win Again in Court Battle Over Fracking Ballot Initiative

The Los Angeles Superior Court again rejected inaccurate and misleading language in a La Habra Heights fracking ballot initiative up for vote in March.