Cat Canyon? Think Again

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I live with my wife, and our dog, just a few miles from Cat Canyon and we want clean air and water every day.

The mission statement of Cal Gem, the California Geologic Energy Management Division, is to be applauded. Most residents must be pleased with prioritizing the protection of our public health and safety, and that of our environment. There’s simply no excuse for the oil industry to have a cozy relationship with you and undue influence in your functioning.

This county cannot be allowed to become another Kern County. No more sham environmental reviews that streamline the permitting process and shortchange environmental protection. We simply don’t need more locally produced oil, especially of such poor quality that it requires hazardous extraction.

No new oil operations should be permitted until ongoing USGS studies are completed and findings fully integrated into the protection of our drinking and ag water… and unless and until an effective regime is in place to thoroughly regulate and monitor operations, and levy and collect heavy fines for infractions.

The economy is well into transition toward clean and renewable sources of energy. Many more and much safer jobs are in this new economy, now. 

Lastly, the oil industry has contributed all too much to Climate Change. We fully expect new rules at a new CalGEM to lead in turning the corner now.

Following are a few more specific recommendations:

— Incorporate all of the guidance given in February by the Fifth District Court of Appeals decision relating to Kern County’s oil and gas permitting ordinance.

— No drilling through drinking water aquifers.

— No new cyclic steaming.

— No disposal of produced water and any other hazardous materials into or near drinking water aquifers.

— Requirement that oil companies provide full funding for frequent and greatly broadened testing of groundwater for contaminants resulting from oil-industry activities.

— No drilling in high fire hazard zones.

— No drilling that adds tanker truck traffic, considering increased air pollution and frequency of road accidents.

— Comprehensive monitoring and correction of methane emissions.

— Significantly higher bond requirements given the bankruptcies of limited-liability oil companies that leave contamination in their wake.

— Greater incentives against idle wells and prompt-plugging of non-active wells; permits should expire when not used.

— Consideration of all health impacts of exacerbated climate change in all permitting processes.

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