Supervisor Zack Scrivner, District 2.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's plan to shrink and possibly phase out California oil production won't go unchallenged by politicians in the state's petroleum capital, Kern County's Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday.

The board voted 5-0 to invite the industry to come make a public presentation about the impacts of new oil regulations, organize a coalition to tell Sacramento about the industry's local importance and consider declaring an "economic crisis" if facts support it.

"The arrogance and hypocrisy of this administration to deny Californians access to our own natural resources is appalling," said the measure's author, Second District Supervisor Zack Scrivner. "Enough is enough."

Tuesday's board action appears to be the first political push-back against talk of "managing the decline" of California oil production. It came three weeks after the Newsom administration unveiled a three-pronged regulatory plan to expand the oil crackdown the governor began last summer.

Newsom, under pressure from environmental activists looking for firmer action than former Gov. Jerry Brown took against oil, has also included $1.5 million in the state budget to fund a study looking at how to cut petroleum supply and demand in California as the state moves toward its stated goal of carbon neutrality by 2045.

More than three-quarters of California's in-state oil production originates in Kern County, where according to a recent study the industry supports 23,900 oil and gas jobs.

The measure approved by supervisors Tuesday calls on County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop and Kern's director of planning and natural resources, Lorelei Oviatt, to invite the oil industry to make a presentation to the board about their ability to operate in California and maintain a stable business amid increased regulation.

It also calls on Alsop and Oviatt to organize a coalition supportive of the industry that will tell the governor and Sacramento politicians how valuable oil and gas production is to local neighborhoods and families.

Alsop and Oviatt were further ordered to report back to the board on the likely impacts of the governor's "threat to the fiscal stability of the county." The measure says the board can contemplate making an economic-crisis declaration, if such action is seen as justified.

Scrivner called the governor's anti-oil actions "irresponsible and insulting," saying Kern has worked extensively to regulate the industry "in a way that protects our air, water and neighborhoods and at an increased cost to our local oil producers."

Newsom's office did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf. Sign up at for free newsletters about local business.

(23) comments


Wow . . . ! These comments are really bouncing off the walls of "Camarillo" (that oft-reference old well-known now-closed facility for some of these folks . . . still walking the streets and camping thereon . . . and under bridges).

"irresponsible and insulting," (Zack) . . . is mild compared to "ILLEGAL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL" (CA & US). At least he is standing up to it as endorsed by the BOS. Oil is here to stay . . . Gavin ain't . . . ! (sign those recall petitions now and often) Drill here now . . . and OFTEN . . . ! Let's all get on that bus to SAC!

See that smart phone in your scrolling, texting hands . . . ? ! ! Would never have happened WITHOUT OIL . . . !


I understand that California is one of a very few states that does not level a"tax"

on companies taking oil out of the ground. The idea here is that the oil in the ground belongs to everyone in California not just the folks that extract it and make money selling it. If memory serves me I seem to remember that the only other states that

don't charge a"tax" for extracting oil are Pennsylvania and Illinois. Kern oil

producers are getting the deal of a lifetime.


odd....... what happened to Zack and alternative energy?... pretty sure fracking isn't wind and solar......


Before his election to the Board of Supervisors, Zack served six years on the Bakersfield City Council, representing Ward 7. Zack's priorities are economic and private-sector job growth, in the areas of aerospace, alternative energy, manufacturing and logistics, as well as tough fiscal management of taxpayer dollars in county government. He has been an outspoken advocate for public employee pension reform in local and state government, and spearheaded Measure D, the successful ballot measure, approved by voters in the City of Bakersfield in 2010, which reformed the city pension system for newly-hired public safety employees. Continuing those efforts at the county level, Zack and the Board of Supervisors successfully negotiated for comprehensive pension and healthcare contribution reform with county unions in 2012.


love it...I'm going to go outside and hug a tree


California is bringing more than 1 million barrels a day through the coastline to offload points in the Bay Area and L.A. That is a one million barrel oil spill threat every day on the CA coast. Every barrel produced in CA reduces that threat. Don't import foreign oil from unregulated sources, meaning Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, etc. That is what we are doing now which is an enormous threat to our coast. CA oil is much safer to produce because it is heavily regulated by the state. Don't let environmental groups force us into using more foreign oil and tanker it into the CA coast!!


Straight up ? Nope. Not true Sir.

The people of Bakersfield may actually be wising up.

You have kept these folks, in a valley of smog, unable to see clearly. But they are catching on to your stay rich at their expense game.

You do know Saudi can at anytime can dump their reserve onto the world market and crash your precious commodity. Unemployment will be swift . It's better to have a back up plan.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Yes, absolutely true Lilyrose...

According to the California Energy Commission, 364,367,000 barrels of oil were imported into California in 2018.

Even though I wasn't a math major, that equates to approximately 1,000,000 barrels a day over the year...


Fram Smith

Is there anyone reading this who thinks anyone in state government cares what the Kern County Board of Supervisors does or doesn't do ? The sooner people who live here learn that the plan from Sacramento is to keep the oil and gas in the ground , the sooner we can get out of the denial stage of grief. In other words , get over it .

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Would you be saying the same thing if Kern County declared itself a "Sanctuary County"?

Nope- didn't think so...


The petroleum industry is dying in this state, but not of natural causes. It is being killed systematically by zealots who have the power and control but who have no answer to the question, "where do we go from here?" Our need for fuel for transportation and energy will not be met in the immediate future by alternatives to oil and gas and so it would seem that the zealots are hoping to spur innovation by creating an unmanageable crisis. Good luck with that.


the study mentioned in the article is seeking to answer the "where do we go from here" question. Petroleum companies have known of the effects of their products for decades. the lack of urgency for such a long amount of time requires we act zealously to save what planet we have left.


Petroleum is a dying industry in the state. The governor and state official do not have their heads stuck in the sand, they are preparing for the inevitable and have set aside funds to begin preparing (as stated in the article). While arguing with the state to strike a fair deal for those in the industry locally (re-training, basic income to help transition folks out of the industry and into a new career) solely inviting the industry side to present is disingenuous. If he is serious about the issue, he should be reaching out the local environmental groups, the Governor's office, and residents to all come and present their cases. The county is home to more than just a few oil companies.


Petroleum consumption actually rose last year. It may be inevitable, but not likely for several decades. Just because you and the governor want it to die doesn't mean the rest of the State and world isn't still consuming more petroleum-based products which, in turn, helps support working families in this county.


The governor and I = The millions more people who voted for the guy and for the millions who voted to elect a state senate and legislature that feel the same way. If the "world" wants to continue to use dirty fuel, that is the "world" choice. I would counter that the world has opted to join the Paris Climate Agreement while we are the only outlier. Our democratically elected officials act on the behalf of the majority and they are doing the right thing. Consuming petro based chems supports some families locally now and that is exactly why we should be studying how to transition them away. The world has already started. To not do so would be to stick our own heads in the sand in-spite of what is clearly in front of us.


Have to say this is extreme

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Please enlighten me- what do you find so "extreme"?

Chad Hathaway

Great start by our Sups. Thank you for defending our way of life and our resources.

I don’t care how you feel about oil. The reality is its very important to our state at the moment and we’re going to need it for a long time.

Don’t kill your neighbors for fueling your life.

This is a come to your senses Sacramento red flag. Hopefully it’s received well.


Mr. Hathaway:

If your hand wasn't so deep in crude money, you would have the integrity to admit the air is polluted.

Saudi Arabia's oil fields ? You must have some knowledge of the large volume of oil/ LNG easily extracted from their fields, unlike the filthy, heavy crude of Kern.

The world's needs can be met by cheaper supplies until the time we no longer desire plastic, combustion engines, etc...

Who went semi public with oil stock this week ?

Worth trillions.

Have you met the Prince of Saudi Arabia ? He isn't the most innocent of men, but at least he recognizes the need to transition away from oil.


The local oil and gas industry isn’t trying to convince California residents that oil is the only way. We’re simply asking to be a partner at the table. According to Forbes, California is currently importing approximately 59% of its oil consumption from foreign producers. This percentage has actually increased from last year, even with all of the government incentives and subsidies being provided.

Fact of the matter is that our communities aren’t ready to be 100% fossil free- in fact, there is no feasible way to achieve that right now, today. Let Californian’s work IN California, generate tax dollars IN California, and support California communities.

I’d also like to point out that many of these ‘green’ technologies aren’t, in fact, ‘green’. They’re incredibly dirty- mainstream media just isn’t talking about it because it’s happening in someone else’s back yard.

Right now, hard working adults are CHOOSING to work in oil and gas in California. Meanwhile, small children in the Republic of Congo are literally mining Cobalt. Cobalt that is used for electric vehicle batteries. C’mon. How can that be okay yet working safely and hard to keep food on the table in Kern County is not?

Furthermore, the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow. Everyone can agree that battery storage technologies need to be further developed, but we’re simply not there yet.

Also, you should not insinuate that Chad Hathaway (or anyone else working in the industry) is ‘filthy’. That’s a great way for any observer of your comments to be completely turned off to your message.

I understand that my words will absolutely not sway you- you’re already set in your ways, just as I am- but I do have one request: Please pass kindness forward and not demean the hard-working energy professionals. Feel free to support new, emerging technologies, and vote how you wish, but please don’t berate those who actually know what takes place in these fields every day.

I normally never would comment on a public forum, but your ‘filthy’ comment struck a nerve. I only responded to help rally those who feel just as passionate about my industry as I do. #oilfeedsmyfamily #energystrong


Well said, but you are wasting your breath with this person.


Newsom has his head stuck in the sand. He is so elitist that he cant even see what killing the oil industry in CA. will do not only to Kern's economy, (which would be devastated) but the economy of the entire state. Of course his office didnt respond to questions about this story. Theyre waiting for Newsom to tell them how to spin it so it makes the greaseball look good.


Maybe that’s what he wants to happen. Cripple the working force.


I would expect nothing less from Red State Kern County. Orange County has turned Blue, so has San Diego. Soon, Bakersfield will be on a Red island. If the Hispanic population would organize, watch out!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.