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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fact: San Francisco Has Oil Wells, Makes Money from Drilling

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 10:46 AM

  • Flickr/David Foster
You think you know a city. San Francisco, the "greenest city" in America, that bastion of environmentalism where elected officials openly call for an end to the use of fossil fuels, is in the oil business on the side.

The San Francisco Examiner brings us the news that the city has owned 800 acres of land in Kern County near Bakersfield since 1941, when a local businessman willed the land to the city as a gift.

The land is currently leased to Chevron, who pays the city about $320,000 a year for the right to drill, the newspaper reported. Supervisor John Avalos, who has minted himself as the most reliable critic of the nation's addiction to fossil fuels, has introduced legislation that would end the drilling. Problem is, that would also end a revenue stream to the
city's parks and libraries. 

According to the very specific will of landowner Albert Fuhrman, the viscous oil money goes to pay for the city's Public Library and the city's parks — two pursuits that have never been known for extra piles of money lying around.

Avalos's plan to stop the drilling may become easier, given that it appears Chevron has significantly slowed down on drilling, too. Revenue from the field has dipped in half over the past five years, the newspaper reported.

San Francisco does have a roughly $9 billion budget, so you'd think the green city would be able to stop drilling AND find some extra money for parks and libraries. That is, if we were serious about any of the above.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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