Thanks to new technology, a large untouched oil reserve, known as the Monterey Shale, might soon be within reach. If it happens, California could become the country's top-oil producing state.
One oil company here in the Valley is rushing to be a part of this possible boom, a boom that could create a lot of jobs and money. But, some say it would all come at a dangerous price.
Beneath the thick layers of folded and twisted rock inside the Monterey Shale, lies the possibility of a petroleum paradise. It could be a potential gold mine for oil companies, and drillers are ready to tap in.
Fresno State Geologist Dr. Stephen Lewis says, "Now that this hydro fracturing technology is available, it really could be a huge source of petroleum."
It's estimated the Monterey Shale holds more than 15 billion barrels of oil. It stretches between Southern and Central California, and includes the west side of Fresno County. In the past, it's complex formation has made it difficult for drillers to explore. New fracking technology could now unlock it's full potential.
"I wouldn't be surprised if this, in ten years, turned out to be very successful," says Dr. Lewis.
Even the small of chance of an oil boom is enough to spur a booming interest. Two months ago, Clovis based company, Petroleum Land Management, bought leases on more than 10,000 acres of federal land, to explore and drill for oil.
Local environmental groups, like the Sierra Club say pumping the rich reserves, is risky business.
"We call for regulation of fracking, and if it can't be found to be safe to the environment, then to put a halt to it until it can be found to be safe," says Gary Lasky.
Gary Lasky is leading a federal lawsuit against fracking in Fresno County. He says it's a dangerous operation that poisons land, water and air.
"Oil booms everywhere are are dirty business. We want to see jobs created in California that are healthy jobs, healthy for the environment and safe for people," says Lasky.