KERN COUNTY, Calif. — This morning California Senator Dianne Feinstein expressed her concern over a massive oil spill here in Kern County. That spill by Chevron leaked hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil since May in the McKittrick area.
“I’m extremely concerned by Chevron’s huge oil spill outside Bakersfield and that it remained unknown to the public for two months," the statement read.
“The company states that most of the spill has been recovered, but that still leaves oil and contaminated water in the soil and surrounding environment. The full toll to the area is not yet known, although we’re lucky the spill didn’t take place during a rainy period or the effects on our environment and wildlife would have been even more tragic.
“Almost as troubling as the spill itself is that it occurred at multiple times for two months, but we just learned about it. Media reports say there have been at least three significant spills at this site since May. This is something the public should have been alerted to earlier. Proper oversight can’t occur if incidents like these are kept under wraps.
“The company and the state need to ensure that this spill is contained and cleaned up as quickly as possible and that another spill doesn’t occur.”
According to the Associated Press, the state issued Chevron a notice of violation ordering it to stop steam injections around the spill. The company also increased its production of oil from wells in the area. Both actions are intended to relieve underground pressure that may be forcing the mix of oil and water to the surface.
Environmental groups said the Chevron spill is another sign of weakened regulations under an embattled California agency.
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently fired the head of the state's oil and gas division over a recent increase in hydraulic fracturing permits and amid a conflict-of-interest investigation of other division employees.