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Jerry Brown: The Big Oil Governor

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, is back in the news in an article in today’s Sacramento Bee about the increase in steam injection oil drilling permits since Governor Jerry Brown in November fired two regulators who were actually doing their job.

Reheis-Boyd served as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, the panel that developed the so-called “marine protected areas” that went into effect in Southern California waters on January 1, 2012.

“After lobbying by oil companies and local lawmakers, Brown ‘figured out that this industry is really important,’ said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, an industry lobbying group,” according to the Bee. Under pressure from the oil industry, Brown fired Derek Chernow, then acting director of the state Department of Conservation, and oil and gas supervisor Elena Miller in order to expedite the granting of permits for risky injection projects after the permitting had slowed in 2010 and 2011 after the tragic death of Chevron oil worker Robert David Taylor.

Brown appointed the more oil industry-friendly Mark Nechodom, the husband of Secretary of State Debra Bowen, to replace Chernow.

It is no surprise that oil drilling permits have increased by 18 percent since Brown fired Chernow and Miller and appointed Nechodom. It is also no surprise that Reheis-Boyd — a strange type of “marine guardian” — was pleased with the successful effort by the oil companies that she represents to get the two fired.

“Oil companies are ‘extremely happy’ about the governors decision, Catherine H. Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, a Sacramento-based trade group, said in a telephone interview,” reported Bloomberg News. ‘They have been extremely frustrated dealing with an agency that in the past had a wonderful working relationship with industry.’”

It is again no surprise that the corrupt MLPA Initiative process that Reheis-Boyd oversaw created so-called “marine protected areas” that fail to protect the ocean from oil spills and drilling, pollution, military testing, wind and wave energy projects, corporate aquaculture and all other human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

According to the Bee, “Brown has been attentive to business interests since taking office last year, considering their support critical to his effort to raise taxes. He volunteers his firing of Chernow and Miller as evidence he is committed to reducing regulations.”

“‘They were blocking oil exploration in Kern County,’ Brown said at an event last week in San Jose. ‘I fired them, and oil permits for drilling went up 18 percent,’” according to the Bee.

It appears that Brown is even more cozy with the oil industry than Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Brown’s firing of two dedicated public servants, resulting in increased oil drilling, and his embrace of questionable “marine protected areas” created under the leadership of a big oil lobbyist demonstrate that Brown has become the “Big Oil Governor.”

Brown’s subservience to the oil industry isn’t the only area where Brown is pursuing an anti-environmental, pro-corporate agenda. Brown is also fast-tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral canal, a government boondoggle that is likely to result in the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon, Sacramento splittail and other species in order to deliver more Delta water to corporate agribusiness and Southern California water agencies.


  1. Harvey Reading May 10, 2012

    Well, what would people expect? That Moonbeam would change? Hell, y’all had him for eight years in the 70s and early 80s. Is your memory that bad?

  2. WineGuy May 12, 2012

    Well stated Harvey, EGB Jr, the Jesuit, is an old school hack, in way over his head in 2012…expect another S&P downgrade on the Bonds adding to even bigger defecits, meanwhile his cronies at the Regents, commisons and UC execs are fattening their PERS retirements way big, and PERS is this close to a melt down…we could be a 4th world agraian state in 10 years, good we have plenty of farm labor ready to grow whatever, Mao would be proud of us….make Gray Davis look good…

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