California’s Oil Country Faces an ‘Existential’ Threat. Kern County Is Betting on the Carbon Removal Industry to Save It

[Note from BenIndy: The EPA and the Kern County Planning and Natural Resources staff have scheduled four joint workshops regarding the Kern County Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), or ‘Carbon Removal,’ project described below. Tomorrow, Wednesday 17, from 3-5pm, is the FIRST VIRTUAL HEARING; find instructions for how to join HERE. While verbal comments will not be accepted during the virtual meeting, the public is welcome to join and ask questions in the chat. If you plan to join, follow the instructions at the link. Meanwhile, a group of Solano residents have assembled to fight a new CCS project proposed for a site in Montezuma Hills, Solano; that group’s next meeting is January 24.  You can learn more about this project at the Sunflower Alliance website. If you are interested in joining this group, email your contact details to and we’ll pass them on to one of the group members so you can connect. We have a long, hard slog ahead if we’re going to beat back these boondoggles.]

An oil pumpjack in Kern County, California.  Harika Maddala / Inside Climate News.

“We are at a very, very difficult crossroads.”

Inside Climate News, by Emma Foehringer Merchant and Joshua Yeager, KVPR, January 16, 2024

Omar Hayat sees the future in a patch of dirt near Bakersfield, California, where oil was discovered more than a century ago. That discovery paved the way for Kern County’s lucrative petroleum industry. Now, Hayat hopes to use the same dirt patch to launch a new business—one that may help California reach its ambitious climate goals.