Lawsuit accuses Chevron of underpaying royalties

A lawsuit filed last month accuses Chevron of fraudulently underpaying oil royalties to a family trust based in San Luis Obispo County.

If the suit achieves the class-action status it seeks, it could extend to royalty owners in Kern and Fresno counties.

The suit claims that the San Ramon-based company — Kern’s leading oil producer — has intentionally violated the terms of its longstanding royalty agreement with The Melissa D. Duflock Revocable Trust. The trust owns land in Monterey County’s San Ardo Oil Field, which is one of many areas where Chevron produces oil.

Chevron dismissed the charges as “baseless allegations and unsubstantiated lawyer rhetoric.”

EDITORIAL: Watchdog agency should scrub Rubio’s move

Last Wednesday, then state Sen. Michael Rubio of Shafter told The Bee’s editorial board that he soon would introduce legislation to reform the landmark California Environmental Quality Act.

Rubio, citing a bout with the flu, spoke via telephone instead of appearing in person with other CEQA reform supporters.

The first-term Democrat told of CEQA abuses that had stymied urban revitalization and green energy projects. He also defended his proposal to exempt projects from environmental review if they met standards established by other laws.