And didn’t those agencies just jump to comply, too. The AP gets pretty shirty when you quote them, so let me summarize: in 2014 California Governor Jerry Brown directed the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to let him know just what mineral resources (including oil) was available on his family’s ancestral ranch. So DOGGR put together a survey report (which the agencies could have probably gotten away with clean) and a really nice map (which raised a bunch of eyebrows, because that’s gilding the lily). Brown’s people are insisting that this was all perfectly normal, and that anybody else would have gotten the same treatment; and various people involved with gas and oil development in California are all politely but firmly saying that no, this is not perfectly normal and Jerry Brown got this consideration because he’s the Governor of California*.
Now, this may seem a bit picayune to people outside of California in general, and California’s rather beleaguered oil and gas industry in particular; but abuse of power is abuse of power, and as the AP (!) helpfully noted in the last paragraph there have been issues with DOGGR’s oversight of oil waste-water disposal. DOGGR’s excuse? Lack of staffers.
Moving along from that for a moment: the real problem here is not actually whether state regulatory officials decided to go ahead with buttering up their boss by giving him a thick report that said Nope, you got no oil there** and a pretty map to put on a wall somewhere. They did. These things happen. No, the problem here is that Jerry Brown is one of those politicians who likes to pretend that he operates on a higher moral plane than the rest of us, and that he’s not like other politicians, and any number of other silly lies. That’s why his office was so insistent that they didn’t do anything wrong.
I mean, this is hardly an impeachable offense (not that the legislature would impeach Brown over his, given that they’re all Democrats). It could be handled by Jerry Brown voluntarily reimbursing DOGGR for its time and labor and Gov. Brown promising never to do it again. But that would then get in the way, the next time that Jerry Brown and his Democratic cronies wanted to go after somebody who similarly took advantage of his or her station.
(Image via Shutterstock)
*Especially the map. Really, the map got push-back from people who were willing to speak on the record, and using their name. Pro-tip for people following at home: that’s how you know that something’s gone weird. When they say who they are, they typically figure that they’re safe from retribution.
**Which Jerry Brown’s own grandparents or great-grandparents probably could have told him, given that I cannot believe that they wouldn’t have checked for themselves when the first oil boom hit California.