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Kern County Gives Oil-By-Rail Project Go-Ahead

Sep 9, 2014

The Alon Refinery in Bakersfield will soon get a new railyard under a plan approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve plans by for a new oil-by-rail facility at a Bakersfield area refinery. 

The Alon Refinery on Rosedale Highway would restart operations with shipments of crude oil from the Dakotas delivered to Bakersfield by train.

A number of environmental groups raised concerns about the potential for accidents, and the project's impact on CO2 emissions. They also questioned the thoroughness of the project's environmental study.

But Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez says the economic benefits of the project outweigh the risks.

Perez: "We as a county always have to balance risks, promote economic prosperity and enhance our local workforce. This is a project that clearly synthesizes those values and priorities as expressed by this board over some time."

The company says the project would create around 200 construction jobs, and another 185 jobs operating the plant which is currently not in operations. 

On average two trains, each one mile long, would deliver crude oil to the refinery daily.