BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — In April, California Governor Gavin Newsom took action to phase out all fracking by 2024. Tuesday, in an effort to protect Kern County’s oil and agriculture industries, the Board of Supervisors announced a new lawsuit.
The Kern County Board of Supervisors announced Tuesday afternoon that in a 4 to 1 vote the county will be suing Governor Newsom for his recent legislation to phase out fracking. The vote took place in a closed session with all board of supervisors voting in favor of the lawsuit except Supervisor Letica Perez.
Chair Supervisor Phillip Peters then addressed the item in an open session stating the time for talk appears to be over, when it comes to state and Kern County fracking permits.
"Today in closed session the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 with Supervisor Perez voting 'no,' to authorize a lawsuit against the state of California for Governor Newsom's recent unilateral decision to violate the constitution by directing state agencies to stop implementing legislation directing the safe and environmentally protected production oil and gas resources in the state of California and principally here in Kern County. The time for talk appears to be over based on the governor's recent actions. The time for our county's response is now."
Thirteen fracking permits were denied Tuesday morning and another 21 permits were rejected last month.
“But Newsom, even though the legislator denied his request to pass legislation to ban fracking, Newsom went around the legislator and went straight to his regulatory agencies to do so and that’s the crux of this," said Zack Scrivner, Kern County Board of Supervisor for District 2. "He’s way outside of his lane and what he’s doing is he’s hurting me and women and families in Kern County.”
“To support this industry, we produce the cleanest and most environmentally friendly oil and gas in the world, and right here in California, it provides jobs and provides for our community, and we do oil here better than anywhere,” added Peters.
California is the 7th largest oil-producing state in the country and would become the largest state in America to ban fracking. California data states 71 percent of all oil production comes from Kern County with the state generating nearly one billion dollars in state and local tax revenues on oil and gas. Roughly 24,000 people work in Kern County's oil industry. A ban on fracking and oil extraction could drastically impact those jobs.
But the supervisors say despite how many jobs it makes up Governor Newsom is still trying to get rid of fracking despite their efforts.
The board does not currently have a specific day they plan to file the lawsuit.
Environmental advocates oppose fracking citing its harm to the environment and public health.