By Alfredo Camacho / South Kern Sol
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — While Kern County is known for being a top producer of agricultural goods in the state, that reputation could one day be surpassed by the mass production of another valuable commodity: energy.
Whether or not that happens will hinge in part on what position the region’s elected officials take on fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, a technique for extracting oil or gas under the earth that uses injections of water and chemicals under a high pressure to penetrate bedrock. Kern County sits atop the Monterey Shale Deposit, the largest known shale oil deposit known to exist, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated in 2011 contains half of all the recoverable oil within U.S. borders.
Last week in Bakersfield, candidates in the race for the 21st Congressional District met at an open forum hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Former Assemblywoman Nicole Parra. Incumbent Steve Valadao, a Republican, and Democratic challengers Amanda Renteria and John Hernandez attended the forum, where they were each asked where they stand on the issue of regulating fracking on public lands.
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