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On March 4, 2016, the California Energy Commission terminated the HECA application. A coalition of residents, farmers, and Sierra Club members had requested this termination about one year earlier. HECA was unable to show they had a viable project so they have been dropped. The people of Kern County who pointed out the faults of this project and bravely opposed it for many years have won!


Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) wants to build a huge new polluting facility in Kern County between Tupman and Buttonwillow.  The plant would use coal and petcoke to produce hydrogen for generating electricity or manufacturing fertilizer.

HECA claims it will produce clean energy because CO2 will be captured and sent to the nearby Elk Hills where Occidental Petroleum will use it for oil recovery.


Pollution: The truth is that HECA will release toxic contaminants, threaten groundwater, contribute to climate change, and make the Valley’s terrible air quality even worse.

  • HECA will transport coal from New Mexico all the way to Tupman. Trains plus hundreds of daily trucks will carry coal, petcoke, fertilizer and waste products through Kern County communities daily.
  • HECA would gasify the coal and petcoke, emitting dangerous pollutants into the air, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter.  Heavy metals such as mercury will also be released into surrounding fields and homes.
  • Kern County already has very unhealthy air—we cannot allow this plant to make it worse!

Additional danger: HECA will produce one million tons annually of fertilizer very near to the Tupman school.   It only took 30 tons to explode and kill 15 people in West Texas this past spring.

 Discrimination:  Throughout the permitting and public comment processes, Spanish-speaking residents were not given equal opportunity to comment on the project and received less information.

Misleading Information: HECA has said the project will bring many jobs to the community, but many of these jobs would be temporary or will require advanced degrees and likely be filled by people from outside the local communities.  The claim of “clean energy” is entirely false as the project is very dirty and the plant produces no net energy for other uses.


1)   Send comments by mail or email to the California Energy Commission urging them to deny permits.

California Energy Commission, Dockets Unit, MS-14, Docket No. 8-AFC-8A

1516 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814-5512   or     docket@energy.ca.gov

2) Tell the Kern County Planning and Community Development Department why HECA is bad for the community and send your comments as soon as possible:

email  kitchenJ@co.kern.ca.gov

or mail comments to Kern Planning Department, 2700 M St., Suite 100, Bakersfield, CA 93301

Note: This website is dedicated to giving the public more information about Hydrogen Energy California.  We only hear from the project owners most of the time.  The public needs another source of information to get the true picture of this controversial project.



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