East County News Service
November 10, 2015 (Sacramento) – Governor Jerry Brown is under investigation for asking workers in the California’s Department of Conservation to prepare a state map of oil and gas resources on Brown’s family ranch. Associated Press obtained records proving that Brown last year directed top officials in the agency to assess and map the oil, gas and mineral history and potential of his 2,700 acre ranch including satellite-imaged mapping and a drilling map.
The complaint was filed by Jennie Catalano, a mapping specialist who alleges she has also faced retaliation for filing the complaint.
It is illegal for an elected official to use state resources for personal purposes, though they can access public records such as previously existing maps of oil and gas resources.
The Sacramento Bee reports that Burton Ellison, a former senior official with the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, called the mapping work for Governor Brown a “misuse of government time and employee time and resources.” Several other ex-officials have said they were unaware of work of a similar scope done for any private party.
The Governor tried to hide his actions from public scrutiny, according to Steve Bohlen, Oil and Gas Supervisor for the state. Bohlen told the Los Angeles Times that Brown became angry after he saw e-mails sent by Bohlen to employees about the request. Bohlen stated, “"He asked me to be careful about what I sent by email because of public record laws." So Bohlen reportedly hand-delivered the report, according to AP
Copies of the whistleblower’s complaint are exempt from public disclosure, and it is unclear what consequences Governor Brown could face if it is found that he misused public resources for his own potential private gain.
Republicans quickly accused the Governor of hypocrisy, since he has been a vocal advocate of clean, renewable energy – though the Governor has also backed boosting oil production in our state while those green energy resources are rolling out.