Governor Brown fires anti-oil regulators
November 5, 2011
Oil industry representatives voiced their approval of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to fire two state regulators who they said played a role in a slowdown in permitting for new drilling projects. [Bloomberg]
“The governor made the right decision,” said Les Clark, executive vice president of the Independent Oil Producers Agency, to Bloomberg. “If you continue to turn down permits that involve the oil industry, it’s going to take its toll.”
Brown fired Derek Chernow, acting director of the California Department of Conservation, and Elena Miller, oil and gas supervisor at the department’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, Bloomberg said. Miller was responsible for balancing environmental concerns with the need to maximize the state’s oil and gas production.
Within a year of Miller taking over in 2009, the number of permits granted for new drilling projects declined 73 percent. At the same time, there was a fourfold increase in applications as energy companies sought to tap the vast potential of the Monterey Shale, which holds more than 15 billion barrels of oil.
Out of 199 applications, the state granted 14 permits as of September of this year compared with 52 applications resulting in 37 permits in 2009, Bloomberg added.