Bakersfield · Business

McCarthy, Kern leaders press Newsom to boost Calif. oil production

Kern County political leaders called on California Gov. Gavin Newsom to increase oil production in the state amid rising gas prices and the war in Ukraine. 

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) headlined Monday’s press conference and was joined by State Senator Shannon Grove (R–Bakersfield), Assm. Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield), Kern County Supervisor Zack Scrivner and Taft Mayor Dave Noerr, as well as several workers in the energy industry. 

“We should become not just energy independent in America, we should be dominant,” McCarthy said. “God has blessed us with the ability to do that. In doing so, America will be stronger and the world will be safer. The price of fuel will be lower. Our products would cost less. We’ll make more in America, be less dependent on everything around the world and the world will be safer for it.” 

Last year, Newsom promised to end all new fracking permits by 2024 and set the state’s goal to phase out all oil production by 2045. 

According to a letter McCarthy sent to Newsom earlier in March, the state has approved only 67 new permits so far this year with over 1,000 applications still waiting. 

McCarthy blamed Newsom for California needing to import oil from foreign countries, such as Russia, in-turn supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

“The sad part is if you stop producing it here, you’ll still buy it somewhere else, and who do you buy it from? Dictators that do not like our way of life,” McCarthy said. “We have now seen on a world stage of what they will do. They will murder. How do they have the resources to do it? You don’t quite realize it, is what you’re paying today. None of that has to be. We can be energy independent because of what God has blessed this country with, and one of the key areas is right here in Kern County.” 

Fong pointed out that California is an energy island because of the lack of infrastructure and the transportation costs that prevent oil imports from other states, leading to a dependence on foreign oil even when other states increase production. 

“Just look at the math. To power California, our state consumes 1.8 million barrels of oil a day, and our state produces around 370,000 barrels. Where does that difference come from? That difference comes from foreign countries. Six percent of that difference comes from Russia. The majority of our foreign oil comes from Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Iraq,” Fong said. 

“We should not be getting our oil supply from foreign countries that don’t like us. We should be producing that oil right here, and we can. The governor of California has thousands of permits sitting before him that could allow our state to produce hundreds of thousands of barrels a day, that could allow our state to be energy independent.” 

Grove urged Newsom to increase California oil production to be consistent with his environmental concerns, compared to how drilling takes place in foreign countries. 

She pointed out that California imports over 51 percent of oil produced in Ecuador, which is harmful to the Amazon rainforest. 

“If you look around us here, we’re not bulldozing down the Amazon. We’re not taking territory away from indigineous Indians,” Grove said. “We’re producing energy here that is safe and has a quality that is beyond any environmental policy anywhere in the world.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.