oil and gas

The Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a controversial ordinance Monday evening allowing the addition of more than 40,000 oil and gas wells over the next 15 years. The vote took place after supervisors heard 8 hours of public comments. 

 

The majority of those comments were against the ordinance. Small farmers, environmental groups and residents in the county were among those opposing the ordinance. 

 

Resident Daniel Ress said he’d read dozens of studies about the harmful effects of oil and gas drilling on people living nearby.

 

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.  

 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

After hearing more than 100 public comments, the Kern County Planning Commission voted Friday to pass the recommendation for a proposed oil and gas ordinance that would allow the permitting of up to 40,000 new oil and gas wells over the next 20 years.

 

Representatives from the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the League of United Latin American Citizens spoke in favor of the ordinance citing jobs for Latinx community members as a top reason. 

 

But the majority of the comments voiced concern over the new ordinance. 

 

Cal Spill Watch

Juan Flores remembers sitting in a meeting in July when his phone started blowing up. He’s a community organizer with the non-profit advocacy group Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment. “A fellow colleague in environmental justice work, he literally called me three times,” he says.

Not wanting to disturb his meeting, Flores declined the calls at first. “By the third time, I said now this is something important and serious so let me actually step out and take the call,” he says.

Cal Spill Watch

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.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

When Saul Ruiz heard about the McKittrick oil seep, which first occurred in May and is now being cleaned up by Chevron and state agencies, his first reaction was worry: Worry for the McKittrick residents and environment nearby, but also for residents of other similar communities. “My worry was that problems like these could expand to other communities like Taft, Buttonwillow, Lost Hills,” he says in Spanish.

Bureau of Land Management

Fracking has been a hot topic in the San Joaquin Valley ever since the Trump administration released an environmental review about the possibility of expanding hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in Central California. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held three public meetings on the review in late May, one of which occurred May 21 in Bakersfield.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

“Absurd,” “insulting,” and “insane” were some of the many critiques levied during a public meeting in Bakersfield on Tuesday night against a recent Bureau of Land Management environmental analysis, which brings the agency one step closer to opening over a million acres of federal land to hydraulic fracturing.

Christina Lopez / Vall

The Arvin City Council is scheduled to vote on a new oil and gas ordinance tonight finalizing the decision whether the city adopts new regulations making it more challenging for oil and gas companies to operate near the city’s schools, parks, and neighborhoods. Reporter Christina Lopez has more details on the future of the oil and gas industry in Arvin.

The city of Arvin is embraced by its residents as the “garden in the sun” -- but today that garden is surrounded by at least a dozen active oil and gas wells currently drilling near schools, parks, and homes.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

California is the fourth largest oil producer in the country. As we speak, almost 81,000 wells across the state are churning out oil and gas or being used to inject wastewater back into the ground. For every three of those wells, however, there’s another one well that’s not doing any of those things—and yet they, too, can deteriorate and contaminate the air and water over time. Now, a new state law aims to prevent those hazards.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Residents of Bakersfield breathe some of the most polluted air in the nation, thanks to a confluence of vehicle exhaust, industrial operations, and stagnant valley air. In an effort to combat pollution, air quality advocates are now targeting a potential source of emissions that, at the moment, is not even operating.

Ride your bike along the Kern River just west of downtown Bakersfield, and you pass joggers and people walking dogs. To one side of the trail, families play Frisbee golf in the grass. To the other side, a symbol of Kern County’s economy looms silently.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California's air regulators are increasingly turning their attention to a greenhouse gas that has largely gone overlooked - methane. 

According to the U.S. EPA, when it comes to climate change, methane emissions have an impact 20 times greater than CO2 emissions, pound for pound.

That's why Governor Jerry Brown singled out the gas during his inaugural address this month as part of his plan to combat climate change. 

California Bill Would Delay Cap And Trade Transportation Fuel Permits

Jul 5, 2014
The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

A California Assemblyman has introduced a bill that would delay part of the state’s greenhouse gas reduction program for at least three years. Under the bill, energy companies would be able to put off purchasing “transportation fuel pollution” permits. Capital Public Radio’s Max Pringle reports.