A review of state conflict of interest forms shows that eight regulators managing the state’s oil and gas well approval and inspection process have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the oil companies they regulate.
“Oil regulators should not be invested in the same oil companies that they regulate,” Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance wrote in a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, calling for the removal of Gutierrez and other DOGGR officials with conflicts, and an immediate freeze on new well approval. “These conflicts and approvals reveal a biased department where oil well permitting is on automatic pilot. We ask that you immediately remove all the conflicted managers in the agency and begin a top-to-bottom ethics review. During this review, you should freeze all new oil and gas well permits until you can guarantee that decisions are made based on public safety, not pecuniary gain.”