midway-sunset oil field

The Midway-Sunset oil field near Taft is the state’s most productive. Kern produces up to 75 percent of California’s in-state oil.

Three Central Valley elected officials have added their names to a petition urging Gov. Jerry Brown to end oil and gas production in California — a move that, if successful, would heavily impact Kern's economy and county property tax revenues.

Huron Mayor Rey Leon, San Joaquin City Councilman Jose Ornelas and Eric Payne, a trustee at State Center Community College District in Fresno County, joined 150 government officials statewide asking Brown to withhold petroleum permits, among other measures, as a way to reduce pollution and slow climate change. The petition was originally sent to the governor June 26.

“The biggest impact of fossil fuels are in our communities with the lowest income families, and farm worker communities like mine with poor air quality and contamination from fracking (the well-stimulation technique also called hydraulic fracturing) and drilling,” Leon said in a news release Thursday.

The group behind the petition, Elected Officials to Protect California, an offshoot of an anti-oil organization founded on the East Coast, has proposed ending oil and gas work within 2,500 feet of homes and other sensitive areas, as part of a transition to full reliance on renewable energy.

As the state’s leader in petroleum production, Kern would suffer economic harm if the campaign to end oil and gas work were to succeed. The industry employed some 12,000 workers countywide until a downturn in barrel prices in mid-2014. Kern is also a leading producer of wind and solar power.

Tracy Leach, director of the pro-oil group Kern Citizens for Energy, expressed frustration with political efforts to curtail petroleum production in the state.

“it’s incredibly disheartening to see some California politicians continually work to outsource our oil and gas demands to foreign countries — many with abysmal environmental and human rights records — rather than keeping those jobs and critical tax revenues right here in our state, benefitting the people of California,” she wrote in an email.

Oil industry groups challenged the notion that stopping petroleum production would advance California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. They said it would instead increase the state’s dependence on fuel imported from countries with weaker environmental regulations, while also driving up costs for consumers.

“Outlandish demands like fossil fuel bans are counterproductive,” Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of Western States Petroleum Association, said in an email. “There is a balanced approach to common challenges. Let’s discover together how we can continue to meet environmental goals, provide affordable, reliable fuel for millions of Californians to ensure all of our prosperity.”

Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association, added that meeting California’s environmental goals and energy needs requires an “all-of-the-above energy portfolio.” He noted the state’s use of imported oil has quadrupled in the last 20 years.

Brown has taken steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California and signed the state's first rules on the oilfield practice of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." But he has otherwise taken a measured approach to oil production.

Most of the elected officials that have signed the anti-oil group’s petition are from Northern and Southern California. Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola is the only Kern County elected official to have signed the petition.

Efforts on Friday afternoon to reach county supervisors representing Kern’s richest oil-producing regions were unsuccessful.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

(15) comments


Guess the Left is on a roll. They destroyed 50,000 migrant worker jobs with one NorCal court decision on water, that was admittedly based in part on junk science, and made by a judge who was a member of the Sierra Club; they then destroyed tens of thousands more in the transportation industry with the now admitted mistaken decision by the Ca Air Resources Board, which forced the mass replacement of big rig diesel engines, driving untold numbers of trucking firms across the border to Az and Nv. This was later found to be based on more junk science, provided by a State researcher who had falsified his credentials. So now they get to Oil. While they profess to be concerned about the Earth as a closed ecosystem, they will knowingly shut down the cleanest oil production on the planet, with full knowledge that it will be replaced immediately by production in the dirtiest crapholes on the planet, where there are absolutely no environmental or worker protection laws in place. It must be wonderful to tell yourself that you are progressive, working for the greater good.

Jerry Todd

These corpus callosum challenged folks think that all petroleum does is provide fuel for evil IC engines. They don't complain about pavement, plastics, pharmaceuticals, natural gas, lubricants, cosmetics (ever seen how much parafin goes into cosmetics?), fabrics and about 21,000 other products.

Insanity knows no bounds when you think like a Cartesian.


Mayor Leon, you are a complete fool. First of all, you are complaining about something that doesn't exist except in your mind. The closest oilfield to you is the Coalinga field, which is devoid of any MAJOR fracking and drilling operations. It is mostly a few little storage farms and a scattering of pumpjacks.
Your statement about oilfield operations affecting low-income communities is also misleading. The only way it affects your community is by providing jobs and household goods to your constituents. You don't give a rat's big toe about the people in other communities, some 12-15,000 in Kern County alone, who would lose their jobs should your frivolous petition be approved by our idiot Governor. Not only that, but I wonder how your "low income" residents would feel about paying $5 a gallon for gas, and paying higher prices for household items made of plastic, parts and tires for their cars (rubber items like hoses and tires are made from petroleum, you see), and having to drive further to GET fuel for their cars, as cut rate stations would most likely cease to exist.
Try to look at the BIG picture and educate yourself before you look nd sound any more stupid than you obviously are.



Jerry Todd

You sound just like Barack Obama when he told the coal industry they'll have to train for new work. If you only knew the new technologies that are coming along to make our fossil and abiotic fuels cleaner,and more efficient, you wouldn't making ridiculous statements.


Environmentalists could come together with oil field workers to build support for this push with the added condition of guaranteed job retraining and placement for displaced oilfield workers. And let Big Oil pay for it all with the record profits they've reaped from the Iraq War.

Oilfield workers are smart and EXTREMELY HARD WORKING. I'm sure they're talent and work ethic would prove invaluable to any future mass transit production and maintenance operations, construction, alternative energy production (wind, solar, etc.) Let's do it!

Jerry Todd

I've never met an environmentalist who was actually interested in solving problems and advancing technology - unless designing video games. Over 40 years in the environmental business, the only real stewards are the farmers and engineers who toil long and hard to make life better.

Ray Riley

Obviously these alongwith the others that arebacking this bill aren’t from an oil producing area... They fail to seehow their actions will affect those families involved in the oil industry...If they are concerned anoutgreen house gasses, maybe they should start will the autos in Sacramento, San Francisco and LA... is this a farfetched suggestion? Sure it is because they are not going to do this.You don’t cut off your nise to spite your face!


" . . . it is difficult to argue with 'the stupid', since they tend to have so much more experience at being 'the stupid'."
Leon, Ornelas and Payne said: "Our psychiatrist told us we're going crazy".
. . . So they challenged 'her',

"If you don't mind, We'd like a second opinion."
. . . Shrink says . . . "OK . . . You're all ugly too!"
(Rodney Dangerfield)
DRILL HERE . . .! DRILL NOW . . . ! DRILL OFTEN . . .!
MAGA . . . . Semper Fi . . . !

Citizen Kane

And the ACTUAL residents of Kern County suggest these MUTTS . Rey Leon, Jose Ornelas and Eric Payne move out of Kern County mind their own business and shut up. KC is the 2nd largest oil producing county in the United States surpassed by only one county in Texas. this is like sayng let's throw our money out the window to satiate some crumb bums from the least coast who are just on their way out of politics anyway. Like Jerry the Brown Clown is. Taking oil out of the ground does NOT produce pollution. THe USE of oil in machines can, when not addressed as this state of lunacy already does, produce air pollution again-when NOT mitigated as this now worthless clown show from sacramento already does beyond any reasonable extent. BTW-what is the immigration status of these three mutts? Perhaps a quick investo into that with ICE is in order. Can't be taking our cues from illegala alien foreign nationals now can we? What MUTTS! Lets see them write a check to KC to make up for the money we would lose. Since they are worthless bums they can't.


Citizne Kane, that is the problem. These three "MUTTS" as you call them (and IMHO, you are being polite) ARENT from Kern County. They are from Fresno County communities with less population combined than the total number of people who would lose their jobs just in Kern County alone if this petition is approved by Moonbeam Brown.
It would be political suicide for this petition to see the light of day, but Brown is on his way out so he doesn't care. And in these days of the decline of sanity in politics, anything is possible.


I sure hope that these folks walk wherever they go. I would hate to think that they are hypocrites by driving or using any kind of public transportation that uses petroleum products. They can't ride a bike either -- that would require lubrication.


Lets see how far ANY type of transportation short of railroads gets them without tires, which are a petroleum product.


I'm amused at all the liberals that go on and on about global warming and consistently attack any industry involved with oil and oil related transportation. Guess they haven't figured it out yet, it is a world population problem. Reduce world population and global warming will subside. Too many people on the planet......


Hope we can stop this. This isn't right. Seems we are China. We are not. Stand up and raise heck... This will hurt our county and workers. Oh, liberals don't care.

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