KERN COUNTY IN CLEANUP MODE

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY CRES­EN­CIO RO­DRIGUEZ-DEL­GADO cdel­[email protected]­nobee.com The As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted to this re­port. Cres­en­cio Ro­driguez-Del­gado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez

Chevron faces a vi­o­la­tion no­tice over the largest Cal­i­for­nia oil spill in re­cent mem­ory.

More than a mil­lion gal­lons of fluid have been re­cov­ered from an oil spill in Kern County that’s con­sid­ered Cal­i­for­nia’s largest in re­cent mem­ory.

Cleanup op­er­a­tions at the Cym­ric Oil Field, 35 miles west of Bak­ers­field near the small town of McKit­trick, con­tin­ued over the week­end af­ter Gov. Gavin New­som toured the site ear­lier this week. The mas­sive oil spill be­gan May 10 and has led to a vi­o­la­tion no­tice be­ing handed to the Chevron com­pany, who was op­er­at­ing the site.

Pumps have been used to re­cover oil and wa­ter from a dry creekbed and an ex­ca­va­tor was brought in to break down solids cre­ated by dirt and flu­ids, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est joint state­ment from the state on the in­ci­dent.

En­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ments will con­tinue in the com­ing week as state agen­cies plan how to tackle the cleanup, which has lasted months. There was no im­me­di­ate dan­ger to wildlife or drink­ing wa­ter, ac­cord­ing to the State Wa­ter Re­sources Con­trol Board.

Gov. New­som re­ported progress dur­ing his visit ear­lier in the week and called for greater over­sight. The state has com­mit­ted $1.5 mil­lion in the lat­est bud­get to study how to cut the de­mand for pe­tro­leum in the state.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, some fluid con­tin­ues to be re­leased from one sec­tion of the Kern County spill site but it has been cap­tured by pumps. State of­fi­cials is­sued a vi­o­la­tion no­tice to Chevron and or­dered the com­pany to stop steam in­jec­tions around the area where the spill oc­curred.

The type of spill is called a “sur­face ex­pres­sion,” which means the oil and wa­ter mix­ture seeped out onto the ground and caused a flow. KQED, first to re­port the spill, re­ported a Chevron spokesman said the spill may have been caused by an aban­don­ment of a well that then pos­si­bly rup­tured.

Ear­lier this month the Divi­sion of Oil, Gas and Geo­ther­mal Re­sources or­dered Chevron to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to stop con­tin­ued flow of oil and wa­ter onto the sur­face. The Bak­ers­field Cal­i­for­nian re­ported Fri­day that Chevron sought more clar­i­fi­ca­tion in an ap­peal it filed ear­lier in the week on what it should do in re­sponse to the spill.

En­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivists de­cried Chevron’s ac­tions dur­ing the months-long spill and cleanup and urged the state to keep the com­pany ac­count­able.

If Chevron does not com­ply with or­ders from the state, it could face fines and more en­force­ment, which could hurt the com­pany’s chances at op­er­at­ing fu­ture oil wells in the state.

THE STATE HAS COM­MIT­TED $1.5 MIL­LION IN THE LAT­EST BUD­GET TO STUDY HOW TO CUT THE DE­MAND FOR PE­TRO­LEUM IN THE STATE.

AP

Oil flows at a Chevron oil field in Kern County in this May 10 photo pro­vided by the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Fish and Wildlife’s Of­fice of Spill Pre­ven­tion and Re­sponse. Nearly 800,000 gal­lons of oil and wa­ter has seeped from the ground since May. Chevron and Cal­i­for­nia of­fi­cials say the spill is not near any wa­ter­way and has not sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected wildlife.

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