A view of oil wells at the Kern River Oil Field in Kern County, circa 1977. (Courtesy of City of San Francisco)

SF postpones vote on prohibiting leases for fossil fuel extraction on public lands

The Board of Supervisors unanimously supports legislation that would prohibit The City from entering into new leases or extending existing leases for the extraction of fossil fuels from city-owned land, but a glitch prevented them from going on record with that support Tuesday.

A “technical” oversight has prompted an amendment of the proposal, which was introduced by Supervisor John Avalos, and a referral back to a board committee for a hearing as a matter of procedure.

The full board instead is expected to vote to approve it on Nov. 15 after the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee holds a hearing on it the day before.

The legislation was introduced after Avalos learned that The City has long been receiving oil field revenues from land in Kern County bequeathed to San Francisco by Alfred Fuhrman’s estate. The City receives 15 percent of royalties from Chevron under the lease, which expires in 2020.

As a result of the proposal, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has surveyed the 1,480 acres in Fresno and Kern counties, which includes 800 acres currently under lease with Chevron, and found 484 acres would work for a solar energy project that would generate about $484,000 a year.

As a condition of the gift, all revenue from the land must be split 50-50 between the library and Golden Gate Park. The revenues from the oil field have declined in recent years from $952,000 in 2011 to last year’s $320,000.

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