Kern River pumpjacks, California (Photo CC by Sarah Craigh/Faces of Fracking on Flickr)

On February 11th, the Kern County (California) Planning Commission held a hearing on a proposed ordinance to allow permitting of more than 67,000 new oil and gas wells over the next 20 years with no additional environmental review.  “If approved, this ordinance would nearly double the number of wells there, representing one of the biggest decisions that will be made regarding California’s energy and climate policy for decades to come,” according to a press statement from the Last Chance Alliance.

I attended that hearing via Zoom and voiced my concern, along with lots of other people.  Kern County (Bakersfield, California) is farming country, yet it has the worst air quality in the United States.  People are getting lung diseases.  There are too many cars on the roads.  Communities of color are disproportionately affected.  Water sources are at risk of contamination.

(Source:  Dan Bacher; http://redgreenandblue.org/2021/02/12/kern-county-ca-will-vote-doubling-number-oil-gas-wells/

The commission, however, said that we climate-change people don’t know what we are talking about.  I say the county commission is only thinking about profits, and not about the people.

I feel all the more compelled to keep fighting for clean energy and for the rights of the people who are most affected by oil drilling.

Submitted by Kimberly Gila