Kern elected officials respond to ‘attack on oil’

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Kern elected officials  respond to ‘attack on oil’Under a directive from Gov. Gavin Newsome, the California Department of Conservation announced this week several new actions that Kern County officials say will negatively impact industry without reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The key objection to the package, raised by both State Sen. Republican Leader Shannon Grove and Assemblyman Vince Fong, is a moratorium on permits for steam-injected oil drilling — a method crucial to the county’s pillar industry.

“California’s thirst for oil will not reduce a single barrel by this policy, but as a result we will import more foreign oil and export California’s cash,” said Grove.

“We are a world leader in environmental policy and regulate the oil industry like no other state or country. Those strict regulations are in place to ensure the safety of all operations and that environmental responsibility is held to the highest standard.”

She said that the announcement means, instead, that “the Golden State will rely on more of our oil supply shipped in from foreign countries — whose environmental policies and humanitarian treatment are far below California’s standards. The Democrats and the governor’s ideological policies will fail to protect our environment and not benefit our economy.”

She said that the bulk of Kern oil production will be severely impacted, as will “future capital investment by the producers. If those producers cannot confidently invest in this area, they will invest elsewhere. The reduction in capital investment will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars in the next 12 months.”

Fong also voiced his concerns about the impacts on his constituents, without any guarantee of resource conservation. “Our local petroleum industry is a vital partner in our community and our state,” he said. “Our local workers ensure that our communities have reliable and affordable energy. Any actions taken by Sacramento must be based on a rigorous, scientific approach. I will work to ensure that we proceed with a fact-based process.”

Story First Published: 2019-11-22