‘Kern runs on oil’: as California confronts climate crisis, one county is ready to drill

‘Kern runs on oil’: as California confronts climate crisis, one county is ready to drill

Kern county has approved the drilling of thousands of new wells despite opposition from farmers and activists

Kern county, which sprawls more than 8,000 square miles, connecting the Sierra Nevada slopes and the Mojave Desert to the counties on the Central Coast, is the oil capital of California. The county produces about 70% of the state’s oil and more than 90% of its natural gas – and it has plans to ramp up production.

This week the county approved an ordinance that would allow thousands of new wells to be drilled over the next 15 years. The decision comes despite deep opposition from local farmers and environmental groups, and it puts the county directly at odds with a state that has branded itself as a trailblazer on climate and set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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