Governor's office says he was interested in property geology

AP News
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Posted: Nov 05, 2015 8:44 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Here is the latest news on the exclusive AP report on Gov. Jerry Brown's use of state workers to research oil and gas potential at his family ranch. (All times local.)

5:30 p.m.

California Gov. Jerry Brown's office says he was interested in the geology of his family ranch when he asked state oil regulators to research and map the makeup and drilling history of the land.

Brown spokesman Gareth Lacy said Thursday that the governor was not seeking information for oil and gas drilling when Brown asked the state's oil and gas agency to evaluate Brown's personal property near the town of Williams.

Lacy was responding to a report by The Associated Press that describes Brown directing state oil workers in a request that generated 51 pages of research, evaluation and mapping focused on the ranch.

State records obtained by the AP describe Brown asking state workers to assess the area's "potential for future oil and gas activity."

State workers also prepared a map at the governor's request, labeled "oil and gas potential," that showed the oil and gas drilling history and geology of the area.

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2:15 p.m. Thursday

An environmental group is accusing California Gov. Jerry Brown of using state workers as his "own private oil prospecting team."

The Center for Biological Diversity made the claim Thursday in response to a report by The Associated Press.

The AP reported earlier that Brown had directed senior state regulators to determine if there was oil, gas or minerals at his family ranch near Williams.

State oil regulators maintain Brown's use of state workers for his private request is legal.

Staff attorney Hollin Kretzmann of the Center for Biological Diversity noted that the same regulators have acknowledged falling short on enforcing federal laws to prevent oilfield contamination.

Kretzmann calls Brown's use of the state regulators outrageous.

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10:15 p.m. Wednesday

Gov. Jerry Brown had state oil and gas regulators investigate the oil and gas drilling potential of his family land in Northern California.

State records obtained by The Associated Press through open-records laws show that Brown and his aides last year directed state employees in preparing a 51-page geological and drilling report and satellite and geological map at the Brown family ranch near the town of Williams.

California law bars elected officials from using public resources for personal purposes. California's Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources Division says the work it did on Brown's ranch drew on public records and insists it was legal. But state oil industry professionals say they cannot recall seeing state oil and gas regulators assess and map anyone's personal property like that before.