California Governor Jerry Brown's Oil Survey Controversy

Jerry Brown, photo author Neon Tommy, source Wikimedia
Jerry Brown, photo author Neon Tommy, source Wikimedia

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Breitbart – California Governor Jerry Brown, whose bizarre green antics are a regular feature on WUWT, has been accused of potentially misusing state resources, by asking State Geologists to prepare an assessment of his own private property, which included data about the likelihood of finding drillable oil.

According to The Union Democrat;

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown last year directed state oil and gas regulators to research, map and report back on any mining and oil drilling potential and history at the Brown family’s private land in Northern California.

After a phone call from the governor and follow-up requests from his aides, senior staffers in the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency over at least two days produced a 51-page historical report and geological assessment, plus a personalized satellite-imaged geological and oil and gas drilling map for the area around Brown’s family ranchland near the town of Williams.

Ultimately, the regulators told the governor, prospects were “very low” for any commercial drilling or mining at the 2,700-acre property, which has been in Brown’s family for more than a century.

Through the state’s open records law, The Associated Press obtained the research that state regulators carried out for Brown, and the emails among senior oil and gas regulators scrambling to fulfill the governor’s request.

Brown spokesman Evan Westrup declined to discuss the work for the governor, referring the AP to California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. That agency said the work was a legal and proper use of public resources – and no more than the general public would get. But oil industry experts said they could not recall a similar example of anyone getting that kind of state work done for private property.

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This situation creates a fascinating dilemma for the Governor. Did Jerry Brown use a little known free public service which is available to everyone – in which case every land owner in California should apply for a free survey of their property’s oil potential? Or did Jerry Brown violate section 8314 of California’s Government Code, which states “It is unlawful for any elected state or local officer…to use or permit others to use public resources for…personal or other purposes which are not authorized by law.” (h/t Breitbart).

Or perhaps there is some other innocent explanation? Inquiring minds would like to know.

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November 5, 2015 2:56 pm

Things are not nearly so bizarre and inscrutable when you understand the person is really an elitist greedhead.

Reply to  mike
November 6, 2015 4:49 am

Glad to see there’s another “mike’ out there besides moi. My own reaction to this post, is a bit more complicated than that of the “other mike”:
-On the one hand, this story is just too, too delicious! YUMMM….
-On the other hand, I’m shocked!, SHOCKED!!!–really!–I mean, like, I’ll not deny havin’ always faulted Jerry for bein’, you know, a total flake and a weirdo stiff, and everything, and I mean even before Linda Ronstadt popularized that view of Jerry, and all. But I also always regarded him, at the same time, as a quaintly admirable, hive-hero model of old-school, iron-sphincter, school-marmish rectitude, in his public and personal life. So I’m actually disillusioned by this whole deal–SAY IT AIN’T SO, JERRY!!!

george e. smith
Reply to  mike
November 6, 2015 3:23 pm

Well he literally is a chip off the old block.
His dad was at least an honest crook.

November 5, 2015 2:56 pm

Andy did you hear about this one?

Robert of Ottawa
November 5, 2015 3:01 pm

Another Al Gore profiteer! Just like Soros buying coal mines

November 5, 2015 3:04 pm

Let’s see… He signs in legislation that causes oil prices to increase, he then uses state resources to look for oil on his property. hmmmm. It’s a little like Al Gore saying the oceans are rising so he can buy ocean front property at a reduced rate only more impeachable.

Gunga Din
November 5, 2015 3:06 pm

Or perhaps there is some other innocent explanation? Inquiring minds would like to know.
Any green acquired would be used to promote green.

(Maybe not “innocent” but “justified”. Besides, “there’s no controlling legal authority”.)

Tsk Tsk
November 5, 2015 3:14 pm

Look, laws only apply to people with bad intentions. His intentions were good, so it’s OK.
Socialism 101.

November 5, 2015 3:16 pm

Rank hypocrisy at its finest.

November 5, 2015 3:19 pm

That’s our Emperor Moonbeam!
Ha ha

November 5, 2015 3:33 pm

Stinks. No two ways about it.

Reply to  ristvan
November 5, 2015 4:18 pm

Brown’s California windmill glut stinks, too. Most of them aren’t even running.

November 5, 2015 3:35 pm

According to Snapple ” More turkeys are raised in Califorina than any other state in the United States.” How do you think he got elected?

November 5, 2015 3:40 pm

He just wanted to make sure before implementing more regulations on the industry. And FYI, Jerry, state regulators are not in the position nor have the resources to analyze oil and gas potential, so I find it very unlikely that asking them to do so is legal. That’s like him phoning up the state health department the next time he needs to see a doctor.

November 5, 2015 3:48 pm

Moonbeam is on board with the illegal invasion, too:

Bruce Cobb
November 5, 2015 3:51 pm

Inside every climate loon lurks a hypocrite. I’m just amazed he was so blatant about it. It would be interesting to hear how he squares sacrificing his ideological climate beliefs on the altar of the almighty dollar.
Inquiring minds want to know.

November 5, 2015 3:52 pm

I keep trying to tell people back when he was governor the first time around his stringent “clean air” rules limited the sort of crude oil that could be used to start the refining process from. Wouldn’t you know it, his father, ( Pat Brown) just happened to have the franchise for the military dictators in Indonesia interested in selling oil of just that high grade! The family fortune swelled uncontrollably huge. More cynical sort would say it was just more old fashioned corruption in a family that made a business out of that!

November 5, 2015 3:59 pm

This is explained away very easily……he’s a liberal…… Liberals believe that laws are for everybody else !!!

Rick K
November 5, 2015 3:59 pm

I’d love to carry Moonbeam home in a jar…

David L. Hagen
November 5, 2015 4:03 pm

Pourquoi non? L’Etat c’est moi.

November 5, 2015 4:03 pm

“No more than the general public would expect”
Why then, do people pay me $1200/day plus expenses to prepare similar reports? And that is just the geological work…

November 5, 2015 4:07 pm

Remember his former stint as governor when he earned the nickname of Jerry Medfly Brownout.

November 5, 2015 4:13 pm

Gov. Brown isn’t being altruistic, he’s feathering his own nest.
Global warming activists don’t like it when someone follows the money.

Reply to  dbstealey
November 6, 2015 1:18 am

Just wondering… When the Country elected all of the conservative Senators and Congressmen in the 2014 elections and gave the Republicans the majority to fight the left BS, and when they failed to do anything with the majority we gave them… And still they do nothing, why aren’t these people being recalled as well as some of the Democratic idiots. We have the right to recall these asshole who don’t do what we sent them to Washington, D.C. to do. Every last one of them. Do those people in Nevada really like Senator Reid? I really don’t think so. (he is an extremely evil bastard). A lot of people are extremely angry at the disrespect that these people we elect to represent us, have for us… Even the new ones we just elected. I believe it is a time for recalls and impeachments across the whole of the Country, including States and districts which are typically considered untouchable by one party or another. It’s time to shake the tree for real and get rid of these ‘elected’ A-holes who do not represent the people who sent them there. The career politicos who are in the ‘system’ of PACs and big money and also thugs like Senator Reid, who control them.
If we can’t send someone to Washington to actually represent us as they should, then we are voting for no reason at all. If these representatives cannot uphold the laws and the Constitution, why vote and why pay taxes? This isn’t my government anymore.

Reply to  Dahlquist
November 6, 2015 4:24 am

The demise-conveyance transfer of Representative governance. The power to prosecute the will of a party, not the will of a representative district. We the people gave a few this power. The explosive late 19th and thru the 20th century industrialization via the consequence of electricity. Most citizens within the rank of middle were consumed with trying to make a living – getting ahead. City Nation State – Sparta ruled the fractional small villages. Up hill political battles are won by champion-politicians. California has experimented with the notion that term-limits are a needed item. Maybe so maybe not. What has transformed is the central political party hulk, an unidentifiable mass. Popularity of governance inside of simple democracy is the reducer-thinner that allows City Nation States.

Reply to  Dahlquist
November 6, 2015 6:21 am

“when they failed to do anything with the majority we gave them…”
Yup, glad you drew attention to this. They have plenty of procedural power to conduct the necessary investigations into BS.
It’s good to question why they haven’t been more aggressive.

John M
November 5, 2015 4:17 pm

Maybe he’s contemplating selling the land, and being pure-of-heart, wanted to know for sure whether he ought to inform any potential buyers of any nasty oil under the land.
Now he can sell with a clear conscience!

Reply to  John M
November 6, 2015 4:29 am

By the rumor mill some of that Brown land is within the Sites reservoir area. Land value for water storage or high-end long term Oil value? There is some gas production not to far south.

November 5, 2015 4:26 pm

Eh, sideshow. Now what about that top ten climate skeptic list. I’m up to 5. Please wordsmith and toss trustworthy cites where you see fit.
1. The world’s temperature has not increased in the last 18 years despite CO2 levels increasing. The IPCC models are NOT working to predict global temperature.
2. Antarctica is actually gaining ice, not losing it. The Artic is currently losing ice. The net between the two is well within the normal range of variation.
3. Extreme weather events have not increased and in fact are right within the normal.range of occurrence and magnitude.
4. Sea levels are increasing but have been doing so at the same rate for the past 200 ?years. Even if both poles melted sea level would only increase by 47 mm.
5. Temperature records reported by the government agencies need to undergo an independent audit. It appears much fancy math was done to the raw data and it would be foolhardy to take them on face value.
6. Polar bear populations are quite fine thank you. They appear to be stable if not actually increasing.
7. Britain and Germany appear to be the first pilot tests of nation states moving towards solar and wind power to replace fossils. The average price of energy has increased by ___ in England and ____ in Germany.
Feel free to add away …..

Reply to  Knute
November 5, 2015 4:27 pm

Whoops 7 …

Bubba Cow
Reply to  Knute
November 5, 2015 4:49 pm

seen this? –
and/or this? –
ristvan and aplanningengineer whacked it out
don’t have the link, but recently read story of grid operators requesting 500 Mw additional grid capacity in Britain and the solution will be Chinese diesel gens
support for #7 anyway with regard to what doesn’t work …

Reply to  Bubba Cow
November 6, 2015 8:15 am

Thanks Bubba
It’s not easy to tear out the net average increase for pilot project areas. The cost is buried in giveaways that are dispersed among the peoples.
I’m still working on digesting the link. Real life is getting into the way. Wanted to let you know I appreciate the link. It was a good one with juicy material.

Reply to  Knute
November 5, 2015 7:20 pm

4. Sea levels are increasing but have been doing so at the same rate for the past 200 ?years. Even if both poles melted sea level would only increase by 47 mm.
Hmm… Is that right? If all the ice shields on Greenland and Antarctica are melting the sea level would rise by about 70 meters, I thought. Or what Do you mean with “both poles melted?” Do you think about two certain people from Poland?

Reply to  Johannes Herbst
November 6, 2015 6:16 am

You could easily be right. Do you have a cite for your conclusion ? The Arctic floats so it doesn’t increase sea level if it melts. The 47 mm came from another poster here. I can dig it up if needed.
Since you raised the red flag, I’ll put this one on the bench till resolved.

Reply to  Knute
November 6, 2015 6:06 am

The Arctic isn’t loosing ice.

Reply to  MarkW
November 6, 2015 7:44 am

I benched that one. So if you don’t mind, give me a fact on global ice. Antarctic gaining, artic _____ …. What about global state of glaciers ?
Trustworthy cites would be awesome.

Reply to  Knute
November 6, 2015 8:02 am

From memory there are more than 160,000 glaciers on the planet. Some are advancing, some are retreating. That always happenhs for various reasons. Probably most are retreating, because the planet has been emerging from the LIA.
The DAGW crowd just picks the retreating glaciers. With that many, it’s easy.

Reply to  dbstealey
November 6, 2015 8:11 am

Roger that DB
So the dataset for glaciers is incomplete and it’s too easy to pick and chose which ones. Check.
So what about the Artic ?
Melting, not melting ?
Is it fair to reword the statement to say.
“The dataset for the 150000 plus glaciers us incomplete. Meanwhile we know that Antarctica is gaining ice. The Artic is _____ ?”
Appreciate your help on this.
My plan is to use this top ten as a cut and paste bomb to various outlets.

November 5, 2015 4:42 pm

Hi from Oz. “That agency (California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources) said the work was a legal and proper use of public resources – and no more than the general public would get.” So would readers who lives in California and who own land that might have oil and gas under it please submit a request to California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources for access to the same free service? I await the result with interest.

Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
November 6, 2015 2:21 am

Indeed, although we all know they would wiggle out of doing them it would still be interesting to see how they would have done it , while justifying the work they did ‘for free’ for Brown.

November 5, 2015 4:44 pm

Last year Gov. Brown took it upon himself to enter into a treaty with Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. One little problem, the US Constitution prohibits such an agreement.
Art. 1 section 10 paragraph 1- no state shall enter into any treaty, alliance or confederation.
Art. 1 section 10 paragraph 3- no state shall, without the consent of congress, enter into any agreement or compact with another state or with a foreign power.
Requests for proof of a congressional consent decree were met with questions about what that was. My senators found no record that such a decree exists. Yet the governor persists and refuses to kill the agreement. I gave them proof if was unconstitutional and they couldn’t have cared less.

Reply to  PatfromCork
November 6, 2015 8:32 pm

This is an impressive effort. Are you going to pursue it?

November 5, 2015 4:46 pm

This will never make the SF Chronicle, LA Times or major network news let alone the WaPo or NYTimes. Might make the San Diego Union Tribune or maybe on op-ed in the Sacramento Bee but I’ll bet a case of Feather River Brewery Dark Canyon Ale that even if it does none of the national wires will pick it up.

Reply to  RayG
November 5, 2015 5:34 pm

I’ll pass it on to FOX 11, see what happens !!

Evan Jones
November 5, 2015 5:09 pm

There is only one universal disqualifier for energy production that reduces CO2: If it actually works.

Reply to  Evan Jones
November 5, 2015 5:23 pm

OK, I’ll bite….salt reactor ????

November 5, 2015 5:45 pm

Is there a department that evaluates suitability of given parcels of land for windmills and solar farms? If there is:
1. Do you have to own it to have it evaluated?
2. Can someone else ask to have it evaluated?
3. Can the results be made public?
4. If the result is positive, would some reporter have the kahonies to call him up and ask why he’s not putting up windmills and solar panels on his ranch when it is vital that people do just that to save the planet?
Aw, there’s no such department, it would have been SO much fun if there was.

mark leskovar
November 5, 2015 5:48 pm

The Gov announced some of his contingency (10 so far?) that will join him in Paris…..all politicians, representing California at this international meeting. AGW is his grandstand for history. He’s been making the rounds like he’s a national figure leading the charge for environmental purity. Quite the display of narcissism.

Reply to  mark leskovar
November 6, 2015 12:25 am

How many US Presidents or candidates have used Governorship of California as their leaping off point?

Reply to  mark leskovar
November 6, 2015 2:26 am

free trip to Paris just in time for some Christmas shopping, while staying in some very nice hotels on the public dime , what is not to like ?
Get their other-half’s along on the trip , and given they already go the hotels rooms all they need to fund at most is the flights, and it can even be romantic .

November 5, 2015 6:50 pm

The governor should purchase one of the state geologic maps covering his property. In my graduate school days I assisted some State Mines and Geology field geologists compiling geologic maps of Colusa County. They were printed at 1:250,000 and had full source citations. A 51 page report on 2,700 acres seems to be polishing the apple.

bill hunter
November 5, 2015 7:52 pm

Hooey! Jerry Brown is the real deal, walks and talks what he preaches. Anybody that says otherwise needs some really rock solid proof as he has 40 years of rock solid evidence you would be wrong. Its fair to not appreciate some of his positions but its a long hard and non-productive road trying to prove he doesn’t both believe in his positions and live them too. And I am strongly opposed to his views on CO2.

mark leskovar
Reply to  bill hunter
November 5, 2015 8:40 pm

bill hunter commented: “…Jerry Brown is the real deal, walks and talks what he preaches….”
That’s the problem…..he preaches sometimes and governs other times. But like any politician he’s had failures along with successes. He ignores the failures or any consequence of failing and that’s dangerous. His stance on AGW is beyond his responsibility and pay grade and he needs to back off. He thinks he’s a Jedi martyr for AGW but he’s nothing more than a useful idiot that leads a state with the 9th biggest economy in the world. Scary.

November 5, 2015 8:25 pm

“Or perhaps there is some other innocent explanation? Inquiring minds would like to know.”
Jerry Brown is not a real person; he is a figment of the collective imaginations of California voters. What you see is a hologram made up of the collective imaginations of the voters and what you hear is virtual reality. Pixie dust is scattered in the air when he speaks and on the ground where he walks. Fear not for he is on a noble quest and like Pangloss we live in the best of all possible worlds.

Mark Luhman
November 5, 2015 9:37 pm

This sound normal for Democrats and our media, after all it only illegal if a Republican does it.

November 6, 2015 12:32 am

Front page news on…

John Hume
November 6, 2015 1:43 am

It’s a common theme in comments at WUWT that green advocates wish to impoverish the first world nations by taking away their fossil fuels – whether they believe in the dangers of CO2 or not. IMHO however there may be a secondary motivation of keeping money out of Arab hands. Most of the undrilled joules are in the middle east, if they stay undrilled then maybe money will be diverted from terrorist operations. Could this be the (largely) unspoken thought for so many greenies like Jerry??

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  John Hume
November 6, 2015 4:46 am

No, but they would probably love for people to believe that lie. All one has to do is look at their opposition to Keystone, with the biggest stated reason being that it uses a huge fossil fuel resource, the Alberta oil sands which “threatens the planet”.

Reply to  John Hume
November 6, 2015 6:11 am

Drilling American oil would do the same thing, without destroying the US’s economy in the process.

Reply to  John Hume
November 6, 2015 6:36 am

Look up the U.N.’s Agenda 21 !!

Reply to  John Hume
November 6, 2015 6:08 pm

If you were to replace the word “wish” with the word “will” in your first sentence, I think you are getting much closer to any common theme (assuming there is one, the cats are tough to herd ).
I won’t even try to speculate on the rest of your comment, seeing as the wars are still in progress.

michael hart
November 6, 2015 4:36 am

The sad thing is that many people will be so unsurprised that they will not even bat an eyelid.

Tom Judd
November 6, 2015 4:40 am

With apologies to Frank Sinatra:
Fly me to the moon
And let me hobnob amongst the stars
Redirect that satellite away
From Jupiter and Mars
In other words, survey my land
In other words, voters take my hand
Fill my heart with oil money and
Let me spend for ever more
Yachts, mansions, private jets, and land
Are all I worship and adore
In other words, I’m an ecofreak it’s true
In other words, I’ll live better than you
Fill my heart with oil money and
Let me spend for ever more
Yachts, mansions, private jets, and land
Are all I worship and adore
In other words, I’m an ecofreak it’s true
In other words, I’ll live better than you

Reply to  Tom Judd
November 6, 2015 5:59 am


Steve P
Reply to  Tom Judd
November 6, 2015 7:50 am

Apologize to Bart Howard, not Frank Sinatra.
“Fly Me to the Moon”, originally titled “In Other Words”, is a popular song written in 1954 by Bart Howard. Kaye Ballard made the first recording of the song…”

Reply to  Per Strandberg (@LittleIceAge)
November 6, 2015 8:07 am

two slap head equals one ars*?

Reply to  Per Strandberg (@LittleIceAge)
November 6, 2015 10:27 am

You can’t fix stupid and you can’t fix crazy either.

Reply to  Resourceguy
November 6, 2015 1:13 pm

Can you fix greedy?

Reply to  Per Strandberg (@LittleIceAge)
November 6, 2015 9:37 pm

There are people like this? No, no, not the baldness…the ridiculous.

Reply to  Patrick
November 7, 2015 3:55 am
15K for a handbag.
Perhaps they should have an exit poll concerning CAGW support.

Johna Till Johnson
November 6, 2015 7:46 am

“I am Governor Jerry Brown. My heart smiles and never frowns. Soon I will be Pres-i-dent.” Dead Kennedys, California Uber Alles, 1979

November 6, 2015 10:08 am

Humm, this sounds like Al Gore’s zinc mine royalties.

Chuck Bradley
November 6, 2015 8:02 pm

All you California residents that make the same request, please report it here at WUWT. Then in a few weeks it would be a fun FOIA request to ask for a list of all such requests for the last 20 years or so and the disposition of each request.

November 9, 2015 4:02 am

If a Republican governor had done this it would be top news until that governor was run out of office.

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