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California has set carbon-neutrality goals for 2045 in a move away from fossil fuels to combat global warming. Kern County, where oil and gas production is a key industry, is at the epicenter of this transition's push and pull. KVPR News' Joshua Yeager is tracking the developments in the changing energy landscape.

Federal, local officials tout carbon capture in Kern County –with mixed reaction

 worker walks near pumpjacks operating at the Kern River Oil Field.
Jae C. Hong
A worker walks near pumpjacks operating at the Kern River Oil Field in Bakersfield, Calif., Jan. 16, 2015. The oil and gas industry’s emissions are a main cause of climate change and in the past the industry undermined sound evidence that carbon greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere.

Read the transcript for this report below.

ELIZABETH ARAKELIAN, HOST: In a recent visit to the Valley, federal and local officials touted the benefits of carbon capture, a technology seen as pivotal in the fight against global warming. But as KVPR’s Joshua Yeager reports, there are mixed feelings.

JOSHUA YEAGER: Kern County’s vast and depleted oil fields make the perfect banks to store carbon underground. And as the Department of Energy jumpstarts carbon capture projects nationwide, Kern County is uniquely positioned to benefit from funding. But the county’s connections to the oil-industry are cause for concern among some. Kern County Director of Planning and Natural Resources Lorelei Oviatt is among those who say clean-energy projects could result in more local pollution.

LORELI OVIATT: We cannot put new clean-energy projects next to communities to cause the same kind of air pollution that we caused in the fifties and sixties up until now.

YEAGER: Angie Vasquez is a pastor at Faro Church in Arvin. She supports a proposal to keep future carbon capture projects far from communities.

ANGIE VASQUEZ: We are happy and glad that they come and they involve us.

YEAGER: There are currently three carbon-capture projects under review across the county. For KVPR, I'm Joshua Yeager.

Joshua Yeager is a Report For America corps reporter covering Kern County for KVPR.