Kern Gusher Blog

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    County defeats Chevron in landmark tax case

    BY JOHN COX The Bakersfield Californian
    Wednesday, Oct 29 2014 05:57 PM

    Kern County scored an important court victory against Chevron USA Inc. this week in a landmark property tax case that had threatened a key source of local government funding.

    A state appeals court ruling issued Tuesday supported the county's assertion that drilling new wells increases the value of oil property. It rejected Chevron's claim such activity merely preserves the land's value.

    The case was viewed as a landmark not only because it could have set a precedent affecting other oil-producing counties around the state. It was also important in that about a dozen other local oil companies have filed property tax appeals using the same legal argument as Chevron.

    Kern officials said if they had lost the case, the county might have...

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    Oxy subsidiary posts 20 percent earnings drop despite record California oil production

    Despite record oil production, Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s California subsidiary on Wednesday posted a 20 percent third-quarter earnings drop attributed to higher energy costs. The report was the first earnings release from California...


    New reports target fracking

    A pair of studies released separately Wednesday shone an unfavorable light on fracking, with one claiming oil companies are skirting a ban on underground diesel injections and the other saying minority neighborhoods in areas including Kern...

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    Oil industry huddles on ways to sway public opinion

    Still stinging from last year's passage of California's first fracking law, petroleum industry representatives in Bakersfield Tuesday shared ideas for swaying public opinion to head off regulatory activity they warned could kill jobs,...

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    Dropping oil prices: Good for consumers, potentially crippling for Kern

    The plummeting oil prices bringing relief at fuel pumps around the country could soon have the opposite effect on Kern County's economy. Thousands of local jobs and millions of dollars in property tax revenues may be on the line if oil...


    Industry not thrilled with new fracking rules, and neither are environmentalists

    State regulators have released a third version of proposed rules for fracking and other oil well stimulation work, tweaking things like what size earthquakes must be reported and how much time neighbors have to request groundwater testing....

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    Environmentalists sue over county review of refinery's oil-by-train project

    After initially failing to block a major expansion of an oil-by-rail terminal along Rosedale Highway, environmental activists filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging Kern County officials approved the project last month without fully considering...


    Oxy settles charges it illegally dumped waste

    Two local oil producers owned by Occidental Petroleum Corp. have agreed to pay $476,784 to settle charges they improperly disposed of 57,000 gallons of fluid waste into unlined pits in the Central Valley between early 2012 and Nov. 15 of...

  9. Well tests find no contamination from waste injections

    Initial groundwater testing ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found no evidence Kern County water wells were contaminated by nearby oil field waste injection activity. Half the samples taken from eight water supply...

  10. Sierra Club questions coal plant's mention in PG&E emails to regulator

    Environmentalists against a proposed clean coal plant in Kern County are raising concerns about the project's mention in newly disclosed emails showing possibly inappropriate communication between Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and its...

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    Oil producers wonder what effect refinery project will have on barrel prices

    California's oil industry is raising questions about what effect Alon USA Energy Inc.'s oil-by-rail project on Rosedale Highway will have on local crude prices. An electronic newsletter issued Monday by the California Independent...

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    Farmer lawsuit blames crop loss on oil companies' waste injections

    A local farming company has sued four Kern County oil producers, claiming their waste disposal injections contaminated groundwater it uses for irrigation. The lawsuit filed Monday in Kern County Superior Court says plaintiff Palla Farms...

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    Oil companies square off over sinkhole death

    Neighboring oil producers in Kern County's prolific Midway-Sunset Oil Field are waging a court battle over whose steam injections may have created the sinkhole that swallowed a 54-year-old grandfather on the first day of summer 2011. His...

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