As a resident of Bakersfield, I experience the impacts of Kern County's runaway oil and gas development every single day. When I step outside and breathe in the nation's most heavily contaminated air, I think about the residents of my community who are unaware of the dangers associated with oil and gas production. For those of us in this community the side effects of pollution from the headaches to the coughing, bloody nose and lightheadedness, these are too common occurrence. That is why when I saw that the Bureau of Land Management was planning to open up another million-plus acres of land in Central California to fracking, I was appalled. The closer people live to oil and gas wells, the more likely they will be exposed to toxic air contaminants increasing the likelihood of negative health impacts.
Over the years, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has allowed far too much pollution from the oil and gas industry to occur here in Kern County. We cannot allow the federal government to step in and drill even more wells. Now's the time to stand up and protect our communities and nearby landscapes like Sequoia National Park, Cesar Chavez Monument and Hart Park from unnecessary pollution emitted at the expense of our children, elders and most vulnerable residents.
Tell BLM no more oil and gas development here in Bakersfield by attending the public meeting at the Kern County Administrative Office 6 p.m. on May 21.
Rosanna Esparza, Bakersfield