BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern County Board of Supervisors went on record and officially opposed a draft rule from the state's oil regulators that would ban fracking by January of 2024.
That decision coming after a lengthy presentation from the Kern County Department of Planning and Natural Resources and other organizations also in opposition to the ban. The director of the Planning Department, Lorelei Oviatt, called the proposed ban an attack on the industry, saying that following through with it would set a dangerous precedent for other industries looking to come to the county.
"And now with no evidence of an environmental impact, the state is going to ban this innovative method. Not ban an industry, although they said they will someday. This is one method. What is to stop the next industry being attacked. Aerospace brings an innovative use and invests in it. It becomes a part of our economic diversification but then the state decides for whatever reason to ban that. What about alternative fuels? What about carbon capture? What about all these things they bring to us for economic diversification? This ban sends a chilling message, that if you come to California with something innovative, you better watch out because you could be next."
On April 23rd Governor Gavin Newsom called on California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM), the state's oil regulator, to stop issuing fracking permits by January 2024. That same day he turned to the California Air Resources Board to come up with ways to end all in-state oil production as part of the state's goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.
The Western States Petroleum Association trade group, which spoke during Tuesday's Kern County Board of Supervisor's meeting, says fracking in Kern County accounts for 17 percent of the state's total. Their representative says banning nearly 20 percent of the energy production in the state will only hurt workers, families, and communities in California, especially our community.