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New Permitting Plan for Kerns County, Ca.

by Elizabeth Alford on July 30, 2015

In one California county, officials are working to ease tensions between surface and mineral owners. The Kern County Board of Supervisors held its first workshop last Monday to lay out a newly created permitting plan for oil and gas drilling in the county.

Related: Join other Kern County mineral owners in the forum

The county ordinance and permit program covers 2.3 million acres and will require oil companies to get county approval before drilling. This reverses over 100 years of tradition that previously allowed oil companies to drill wherever they wanted, often without consideration for the competing interests of surface and mineral owners. The new ordinance is designed to allow the two groups to compromise.

A full house was on hand at the workshop with the vast majority  consisting of oil and gas leaders and workers who clearly support the new plan. Opponents will have plenty of time to voice concerns over the plan. The board is dedicating the next five months to public comment until final action is taken on the issue in early October.

Suzanne Noble, vice president of the Western States Petroleum Association, told county officials the oil industry is willing to undertake more expense and effort to comply with the county rules in order to get the economic certainty they could get wells permitted.

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