Hofmeister, McCarthy and McEhinney to headline event

The lineup of speakers for the first West Kern Petroleum Summit reads like a Who's Who of California oil and energy policy:

The list includes congressmen, state senators, high-ranking government officials and the top names in the oil industry today.

State Senator Jean Fuller, Congressman David Valadao, Assemblyman Rudy Salas and Congressman McCarthy will all discuss government regulations.

The industry leaders and government leaders from the local, regional, state and federal level will be joined by an internationally-known filmmaker and journalist to discuss the latest and most important issues facing the area and the oil industry.

Taft College is hosting the event, which has been sold out for weeks and is attracting the national media to Taft.

Virtually every major topic facing the oil industry today is on the agenda for the day-long summit.

Everything from the economy to government regulations to new and developing technologies will be discussed by the top names in government industry and the academic world.

The controversies over hydraulic fracking and the economic potential of the huge oil and gas deposits in the Monterey Shale will be examined, too.

The Taft College Foundation is sponsoring the summit to not only bring the top people in the oil industry together but to spotlight Taft College's role in training a skilled workforce for the industry.

The idea of holding a major conference in the heart of oil country waas a natural one, said Sheri Horn-Bunk.

"People really wanted to support this," she said. "It's because of Taft, the Westside, the oilfields. This makes sense."

The amount of support surprised even the organizers and it quickly sold out of the allotment of 325 seats.

It's an event that has been so successful the Foundation is al;ready talking about another one two years down the road.

McCarthy, former Shell Oil CEO John Hofmeister and filmmaker-journalist Ann McElhinney are the keynote speakers

McCarthy is the House majority whip and author of "Young Guns," a book about the rising new generation of young conservative leadership will be a major speaker and moderate a panel discussion.

McCarthy will be speaking on energy policy.

Hofmeister is going to deliver the keynote speech.

He is the author of " Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider, " and a key member of the United States Energy Security Council, a bipartisan group which includes former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and two former secretaries of defense, William J. Perry and Harold Brown, as well as three former national security advisers, a former C.I.A. director, two former senators, a Nobel laureate, a former Federal Reserve chairman, and several Fortune­50 chief executives.

Hofmeister founded and heads Citizens for Affordable Energy. The , public policy education firm promotes sound U.S. energy security solutions for the nation.

McElhinney will be one of the more interesting speakers at the conference.

She co-produced "Fracknation" a film that examines the controversy over fracking, a practice that has been sued in oilfields for more the 50 years but only recently became controversial.

Other speakers and panelists include former Aera CEO Gene Voiland, David Kilpatrick, owner and president of Tannenbaum Capitol Oil and Gas Ventures and former president of Monterey resources, Suzanne Noble, vice president and chief of staff for the Western States Petroleum Association,

The conference is going to be held in a large tent in he parking lot nearest the Taft College student services center and administration building.

The conference will include several tents and portable toilets to accommodate the speakers, guests and media.

Classes scheduled in the technical arts building west of the parking lot are being moved to other buildings for the day and parking is going to be very limited.