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Hearing, rally on oil drilling in Kern County

Posted at 11:17 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 02:17:14-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Agencies and people from all across the Central Valley rallied Tuesday evening in downtown Bakersfield after the Trump Administration’s announced its plans to open over a million acres of central California oil drilling and potential fracking.

“We’re at a point where climate scientists are saying we have to take urgent and bold actions to save our climate,” said Candice Kim, Director of Climate Campaigns. “The last thing we should be doing is proposing an expansion of oil and gas leasing.”

If the administration’s drilling plans open, it would end a five-year moratorium on leasing federal land in California to oil and gas developers.

“Fracking is a word that is used to scare people. It’s commonly used by our environmental groups to do that,” said Chad Hathaway of Hathaway, LLC Oil Company. “Why not get it from here where it’s safe, we can monitor it and be a part of the process versus bringing in from boat from somewhere else where we have zero say.”

After the rally, the Bureau of Land Management held one of its three public meetings in an effort to receive comments and ease the minds of environmentalists.

“There’s been a little bit of a misconception out there in what we’re doing,” said Gabe Garcia with the Bureau of Land Management. “This plan isn’t giving anybody the ability to do any on the ground work. It just validates what land is open for leasing.”

BLM says the 45-day comment period will end in June. They say they hope to have everything analyzed and finalized by September.