If you ask anyone who has lived or worked in Kern County, we take great pride in our ability to power and fuel the state. Our diverse energy portfolio should be a global model, and we work tirelessly to make sure Kern County continues to thrive in an ever-changing global market. Under California’s strictest rules and regulations in the country, our energy producers promote best practices wherever they operate.

Kern County, the 2nd largest oil producing county in the entire United States, has been leader in the energy industry for over a decade. Since the discovery of the Kern River oil field, the county has been solidified as an energy powerhouse. We house five of California’s largest oil and gas fields and produce an average of 75 percent of the state’s crude oil.

Alongside oil and gas, is our thriving solar and wind sector, which is a part of our renewable portfolio that is larger than any other California county’s portfolio. East Kern is home to the largest solar plant in the world, and the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, which has been revolutionary in providing electricity to all parts of Southern California. Further investment in similar energy infrastructure projects in Kern will bolster the state’s power supply and Kern County.

We need all of our energy producers to be operating optimally around the clock, however, Sacramento makes this harder and harder on a daily basis. This year, I will be pushing commonsense regulatory reform that requires the legislature, not unelected bureaucrats, to approve all proposed regulations with an economic cost of over $50 million. This is a basic accountability measure to ensure our energy producers can continue to provide reliable, sustainable and affordable energy to the entire state.

Because of California’s enormous energy demands, we currently have to import over 60 percent of the oil consumed in California from outside the state and overseas. We should have California-produced energy made by Californians. This is why our policies should promote greater energy independence by allowing our producers to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively in our state.

Unfortunately, Sacramento’s policies, such as the recent gas tax increase and more regulatory red tape, are making our energy more expensive and less reliable and thereby hurting families that are finding it unaffordable to live and work in this state. Energy costs will continue to rise, jobs will continue to leave the state, and that affects all Californians. We can reverse this negative trend by investing more in our energy infrastructure, reining in California’s bureaucracy and establishing basic accountability for all major new regulations, and streamlining our dysfunctional permitting process. Hardworking Californians deserve a more affordable state for their families and their future.


Assemblyman Vince Fong represents he 34th Assembly District.