California Governor Jerry Brown, who poses as a "climate leader" and "green hero" at climate conferences and photo opportunities across the globe amidst fawning media coverage, recently used public employees to investigate the potential for finding oil on his private land, according to the Associated Press.
Graham St. Michel, an attorney for California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), told AP in an email that the Governor had been compiling documents that “shed light on the fauna, flora, rock formations and geology of the area where his great-grandparents … first homesteaded in the 1870s." (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/7780d1a9b1fd436284a40a1f6d6bd969/ap-exclusive-brown-had-state-workers-research-oil-ranch)
After Governor Jerry Brown asked government employees to assess the governor's private property, Steve Bohlen, the head of DOGGR, directed staffers to research, map and report back on any mining and oil drilling potential and history of Brown's 2,700-acre property.
Within days, DOGGR, the division of the Department of Conservation responsible for regulating oil, natural gas and geothermal resources in California, produced at no cost to the governor a 51-page historical report and geological assessment, plus a personalized satellite-imaged geological and oil and gas drilling map, according to Consumer Watchdog.
It is illegal under California law for elected officials, including Governor Brown, to use public employees and public resources for personal purposes,with a few limited exceptions.
"Isn’t it a misuse of public funds for the governor to have the state’s oil and gas agency map and survey his personal property?" asked Carmen Balber of Consumer Watch Dog in an action alert on November 9.
Gareth Lacy, a spokesman for the Governor's Office, told the Los Angeles Times that Brown "has the same right as anyone to obtain public records." (http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-jerry-brown-oil-gas-ranch-20151105-story.html)
"If that’s true, they should be willing to do it for you. Go to our new website, CapitolWatchdog.org, and ask the State Oil & Gas supervisor to check out your property for oil and minerals too," said Balber.
Oil industry experts say that they have never heard of DOGGR mapping land belonging to any individual, let alone a public official. "But there isn’t much of anyone left at the agency to complain after Governor Brown spent the last few years stacking its leadership with former oil and gas industry executives," said Balber.
Balber's contention that the Brown administration is "stacking its leadership" with former oil and gas industry exposes was most recently exposed on October 9 when the Governor appointed Bill Bartling of Bakersfield, a Republican who has worked as an oil industry executive and consultant, as district deputy in the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/10/12/governor-brown-appoints-republican-oil-executive-to-be-industry-regulator)
"Still, the governor’s staff insists Brown didn’t get any special treatment. If that’s true, why not find out if your house is sitting on a black gold mine?" Balber quipped. "Go to our website and send an email asking for the same review Governor Brown got."
"Don’t forget to let us know how it goes," she added.
To ask for your free Jerry Brown Oil Map, go to: http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/6563/p/dia/action3/common/public/index.sjs?action_KEY=11750
Of course, for us independent journalists who have been documenting the Brown administration's complete capture by the oil industry, agribusiness and other corporate interests for the past 4-1/2 years, the latest news by the Associated Press is no surprise. Mainstream media reporting on the Brown administration's servitude to Big Oil, one of the biggest stories in California politics, is long, long overdue!
The corporate media has done a poor job to date covering the connections between fracking and other extreme oil extraction and Big Oil money and power in Sacramento. In fact, because of the neglect of this story by the LA Times and other media outlets, two of my investigative pieces exposing Big Oil's dumping of fracking wastewater and oil industry money and power are cited in Project Censored's #2 Story: "Oil Industry Illegally Dumps Fracking Wastewater," in the "Censored 2016" book that has just been published: http://www.projectcensored.org/oil-industry-illegally-dumps-fracking-wastewater/
You won't see mainstream media coverage either of how the Los Angeles Times and the California Resources Corporation, an Occidental Petroleum spinoff, recently teamed up to create "Powering California," a Big Oil propaganda campaign website. (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/10/31/18779478.php)
Even worse, you won't see any mention either by the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times or other corporate media outlets of how the same Reheis-Boyd, the WSPA President, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create questionable "marine protected areas" in Southern California from 2009 to 2012 – and served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast or North Coast from 2004 to 2012.
Big Oil is the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in the state – and the Western States Petroleum Association is the largest and most powerful lobbying group. The biggest-ever gusher of Big Oil lobbying money into the state in one quarter, July 1 to September 30, 2015, resulted in the gutting or the defeat of every bill that the oil industry opposed in the last session of the State Legislature, exposing once and for all the "Big Lie" that California, the country's third largest oil producing state, is the nation's "green" leader.
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) set a new record for spending in one quarter when it spent an amazing $6,750,666.60 lobbying state officials in the third quarter of 2015 to lobby against Senate Bill 350, Senate Bill 32 and other environmental bills it opposed.
The total spent by the oil industry in the third quarter was an unprecedented $11 million to oppose Senate Bill 350, a climate change/renewable energy bill. Because of the strong opposition to the bill by Big Oil and corporate Democrats that receive big donations from the oil industry, the bill's sponsors removed the provision mandating a 50 percent reduction in petroleum usage.
For more information about Big Oil money and power in California, go to: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/11/06/18779728.php and http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/07/29/californias-biggest-secret-oil-industry-capture-of-the-regulatory-apparatus