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Lawyers Say Kern County Is Inconsistent With Information Regarding New Oil And Gas Ordinance

Joe Moore
Valley Public Radio


Lawyers sent a letter last week to the Kern County Board of Supervisors complaining that information presented at a recent planning commission meeting about a controversial proposed ordinance on gas and oil drilling was inconsistent with the timeline of the actual county document.  


According to senior lawyer Chelsea Tu with the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment, the director of the Planning and Natural Resources Department, Lorelei Oviatt, misrepresented the timeline of the proposed ordinance when she stated a 15 year expiration date.


“In fact, the documents say a variety of different things ranging from the EIR looking at impacts 20 to 25 years out, to other parts of the EIR saying there is no expiration date,” Tu said referring to the environmental impact report. 

The letter asks the board to update the ordinance to reflect the 15 year sunset date stated by Oviatt. Lawyers from five organizations signed the letter. The other organizations are the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity. 

If the board of supervisors is serious about the 15 year cap, Tu said, under the California Environmental Quality Act, the proposed ordinance must be amended resulting in another hearing and another vote by the Planning Commission.

In a statement, Oviatt said the board of supervisors cannot comment on the letter because it is a land use matter. 

The letter will be included in the staff report provided to the board during its public hearing on March 8 at 9 a.m.

Madi Bolanos covered immigration and underserved communities for KVPR from 2020-2022. Before joining the station, she interned for POLITCO in Washington D.C. where she reported on US trade and agriculture as well as indigenous women’s issues during the Canadian election. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology from San Francisco State University. Madi spent a semester studying at the Danish Media and Journalism School where she covered EU policies in Brussels and alleged police brutality at the Croatian-Serbian border.
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