California Natural Resources is conducting an internal review of thousands of permits issued to petroleum companies in wake of a report on so-called "dummy" files created by the state oil regulator.
The review would look at whether the permits were properly issued. Frustrated employees at the oil and gas regulator say that the placeholder files have been used by higher-ups to give petroleum companies a shortcut around legally required safety and environmental reviews. They provided copies of related folders and emails.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has directed the agency to ensure regulations "are followed to the letter of the law," that every permit is properly issued, and "to really enforce a zero-tolerance policy on any inappropriate or illegal behavior."
In July, Newsom directed the agency to fire the state's top oil and gas supervisor and to review conflict-of-interest and permit policies, after learning that fracking-style permits had doubled without his knowledge since he took office in January and that supervisors charged with regulating the industry — including the enforcement chief — owned shares in major oil companies.
Source: USA Today