CA Head of Oil and Gas Division Resigning; Clueless About Brown Mapgate

The head of the state's oil and gas oversight agency is leaving, and he still doesn't understand why Gov. Jerry Brown shouldn't have used state workers for private business. 

Oil & Gas Supervisor Steve Bohlen at California’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) is resigning and returning to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

While the agency has been under increasing pressure after being caught allowing Big Oil to drill thousands of oilfield wastewater disposal wells into federally protected aquifers, Bohlen was recently embroiled in controversy after news surfaced that Gov. Jerry Brown asked him to get public employees to search for oil on his own private land, and at no expense to him, the governor received a 51-page, satellite-image map that was hand-delivered. Despite the media outcry, Bohlen remained "baffled" as to why the public was angry.  

“The governor did call me up, and he said, ‘I apparently have some old wells on my property. What do you know about them?’ ” Bohlen [told the Sacramento Bee]. He said accommodating the governor’s request took “at most an hour’s worth of work.”

Except, it was an hour's week on the taxpayers' dime (though the Associated Press said it was longer). Brown and his staff said he received no special treatment and that anyone could receive the same type of records. Consumer Watchdog put that to the test, asking the public to request their own free oil and gas map, and Brown's assertion failed.  

In the week before the news broke, someone told us that the state gave them very little information and was informed that DOGGR doesn't give that level of help. A few days later, one emailer forwarded a state response that gave links to websites and pdfs, and a week after, another person showed us a more detailed emailed response to their request. No one, up to this point, has shown us anything like what Brown received. 

The public had a right to be upset. It's unfortunate that Bohlen still refuses to get why. 

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