On March 21, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) will be holding two public meetings in Kern County to discuss Kern County’s vision for carbon management.
These meetings will take place in Taft from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the West Side Recreation and Park District and in Arvin from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Veteran’s Hall.
“We’ve been clear that carbon capture, use, and storage technologies will not move us towards achieving California’s climate and air quality goals — they are inefficient, unproven, and will increase local air pollution in our already overburdened communities — and they are a means of continuing to invest in polluting fossil fuel infrastructure,” stated Ingrid Brostrom, the Assistant Director with the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment. “We encourage community members to attend and tell the federal government that these dangerous projects do not belong in our backyards.”
Brostrom went on to call out the inaccessibility of the meeting, pointing out that the time is during work hours, and it is unclear if public comment will be allowed.
“The Department of Energy needs to ensure that community meetings are centered on community needs and availability,” Brostrom concluded.
According to the Department of Energy website, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the separation and capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the emissions of industrial processes prior to release into the atmosphere and storage of the CO2 in deep underground geologic formations.
The department states that CCS enables industries to continue to operate while emitting fewer greenhouse gases (CHGs), making it a powerful tool for addressing the mitigation of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere.
During these meetings, community members will learn more about DOE Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Program) Pilot, which aims to facilitate sustained community-wide economic and environmental benefits primarily through DOE’s clean energy deployment work.
“It is undoubtedly important that Kern County folks get the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns about the direction of programs and grants coming from the Department of Energy. After all, the people living in Kern County will be the ones who endure the effects of any carbon projects that end up happening in the area,” stated Maricruz Ramirez, a Community Organizer with CRPE. “Time and time again, Kern County folks have made it clear that they agree with the carbon management idea of reducing CO2 emissions, but the reduction of fossil fuel usage is also necessary. For these reasons, the Department of Energy should have chosen a better time for their public meeting since community members do have employment and educational priorities during the traditional workday. Additionally, 90 minutes is very short for a public meeting and community members deserve a bigger window to share their input and concerns.”