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Cymric Oil Seep Appears To Have Stopped – But Now There’s A Much Bigger One

Cal Spill Watch
This photo from July 29 shows efforts to clean up more than 1.3 million gallons of an oil-water mix that seeped to the surface in the Cymric Oilfield between May and August 2019.

In early July, our sister station KQED first reported a huge oil seep in the Cymric Oilfield of western Kern County. At that time, hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil had been bubbling up to the surface for more than two months, yet neither the public nor lawmakers had been notified.

Then, in early August, the state announced the seep appeared to have stopped and cleanup efforts had begun. However, that wasn’t the end of the story—environmental groups worry the incident continues to put soil and groundwater at risk, and regulators revealed that Chevron, the company operating the lease where the oil reached the surface, has just been issued a violation for a much bigger seep that’s been growing intermittently in the same oilfield since 2003.

To find out more, FM89’s Kerry Klein spoke with KQED News Editor Ted Goldberg, who originally broke this story to the public.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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