Arvin approves restrictions for oil industry
ARVIN, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) —
Arvin made a bit of history Tuesday night, becoming one of the smallest cities to make its own regulations for the oil industry.
The decision sparked mixed emotions. Some residents of Arvin are thrilled, but industry leaders are concerned.
The Arvin City Council voted in favor of restrictions that specify where oil operations can be, when they can have their lights on, how much odor they can produce, and so on.
Industry leaders are concerned it's too much. Suzanne Noble is the director of the Western States Petroleum Association. She said while the city says these regulations are for the environment, the city did not do an environmental review with its ordinance.
Those in favor called it a victory, making Arvin a healthier place.
"This is important, because this is what my community wanted,” said Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola. “They wanted an ordinance that protects the public health and safety of the community.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra applauded the city's new ordinance.
“For far too long, Arvin – a community that is home to mostly modest-income, hard-working families – has had to bear significant pollution burdens. Thanks to the important ordinance passed by the City Council, that unfortunate reality will begin to change,” Becerra said in a news release. “The California Department of Justice supported Arvin’s right to protect its residents’ health and safety by prohibiting oil and gas sites in residential and other sensitive areas, and by establishing buffers for homes, schools, and hospitals. We now offer our congratulations for this momentous public health victory. Earlier this year, we established a Bureau of Environmental Justice so that communities like Arvin know we have their backs. We look forward to continuing to fight on behalf of all Californians and their right to breathe clean air.”