Feb 6, 2012
Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown fired two top state officials responsible for regulating the oil industry: Derek Chernow, head of the Department of Conservation, and his deputy Elena Miller.
After a Chevron worker died in an accident caused by company practices, the regulators issued orders to cease operations near the damaged well. Then, after the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that oil companies were not adequately protecting drinking water resources, the two California regulators tightened permit requirements.
In the past, candidate Jerry Brown posed as an ardent supporter of environmental regulations. But Governor Jerry Brown acted no different from his Republican predecessor.
Brown sided with the oil industry and pressured Chernow. Brown proposed to issue permits with minimal oversight. Accidents and contamination would be fixed after the fact. Chernow refused this shortcut and got fired together with his deputy a week later.
When new and obedient regulators started to issue shortcut permits, Brown said: “It’s not easy. There are going to be screw-ups. There are going to be bankruptcies. There will be indictments and there will be deaths. But, we’re going to keep going.”
All these screw-ups and deaths are preventable, but the state’s only task is to keep company profits going. Giddyap Brown!