The Latest: Environmentalists blast California oil oversight

AP News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2015 7:21 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The latest on the resignation of California's oil and gas supervisor, Steve Bohlen (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

Environmental groups are stepping up criticism of California's oversight of the oil industry after the resignation of the state's oil and gas supervisor.

Gov. Jerry Brown's office confirmed Steve Bohlen's resignation Monday, saying he'll return to his previous position at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory research center.

Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group, says Bohlen's resignation leaves the embattled state oil agency still "far too close to the oil industry."

However, an oil-industry group, the Western States Petroleum Association, called Bohlen a professional whose tenure had made California's oilfield regulations some of the toughest in the world.

Bohlen's resignation was first reported by the Sacramento Bee.

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4 p.m.

California Gov. Jerry Brown's office has confirmed the resignation of the state's top oil regulator, Steve Bohlen.

The office says in a statement that Bohlen is leaving his position as California's oil and gas chief to return to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory research center.

The statement didn't give a reason for the move, but said Bohlen had been "on loan" from his work at the research center.

Officials of his Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources didn't immediately return calls seeking from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The AP earlier this month reported that Brown directed Bohlen in 2014 to investigate and map out the oil and gas potential and history of the Brown family ranch. Bohlen and Brown aides say the public work for Brown was legal and normal.

Bohlen's resignation was first reported by the Sacramento Bee.

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2:10 p.m.

California's top oil regulator is resigning after 17 months supervising the nation's No. 3 oil-producing state, a newspaper reports.

Steve Bohlen, the state's oil and gas chief, told the Sacramento Bee he is quitting to return to research (http://bit.ly/1OAueCc ).

The newspaper did not give a reason. The state's oil and gas division did not immediately return calls for comment.

The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Gov. Jerry Brown directed Bohlen in June 2014 to investigate and map out the oil and gas potential and history of the Brown family ranch.

Bohlen and Brown aides said the public work for Brown was legal and normal. The worker who prepared the map for Brown filed a whistleblower complaint, however, and former oil regulators told the AP the state oil work for Brown was unique.