The City of Arvin is one step closer to updating their oil and gas code with stricter regulations.
City council voted 3-0 on Tuesday night to move along the proposed changes, including banning new operations near residential areas, schools and medical facilities. The proposed regulations include imposing tougher requirements for new wells in other parts of town. They are also looking to make oil companies pay for expenses the city incurs reviewing, approving and monitoring new wells under the new regulations.
The new regulations would not effect the 10 oil wells currently in the city, but would effect future producers or current producers that want to expand in Arvin.
"If you are an operator outside the City of Arvin, abide by Kern County's rules," said Mayor Jose Gurrola. "If you are going to want to move into Arvin or expand in Arvin, you are going to have to abide by our rules."
Tuesday night, opponents of the changes turned out arguing for jobs in the oil industry. Meanwhile some Arvin residents supported the proposed regulations, saying they take the community's health into consideration.
City staff reminded those in attendance that the new regulations are not a ban. Mayor Jose Gurrola said he believes some confusion has stemmed from his trip to Sacramento last week, when he joined more than 100 elected officials to advocate for the eventual ban of oil production statewide.
According to city officials, the oil and gas ordinance in Arvin has not been updated since 1965 and the city has since quadrupled in size.
The Arvin City Council is expected to take a final vote on the proposal at their July 18 meeting.