Fueling Change: Two Neighboring Towns Pit the Legacy of Oil Against a Renewable Future
California is famous for implementing policies to protect the environment, yet it has also been one of the biggest crude oil producers in the country since the mid-19th century. Kern County supplies more than 60 percent of the state’s high demand for oil but reserves are running out, leaving only crude that is accessible through fracking methods.
The mayors of the neighboring towns of Taft and Arvin face off on stark differences in their administrations’ priorities. While Taft mayor Dave Noerr promotes the economic benefits and practical realities of a society demanding petroleum, Arvin mayor Jose Gurrola advocates for the health of residents and their right to clean air and water.