April 18, 2024
If true, the situation is just the latest example of the Left trying to force climate activism on Americans.

Ex-California Oil Official Says Newsom Administration Pressured Him to Illegally Withhold Drilling Permits

A California whistleblower will head to trial next week for his lawsuit alleging the Newsom administration pressured him to illegally withhold drilling permits during his time as the head of the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency.

Uduak-Joe Ntuk, the former head of the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM), filed a lawsuit in September claiming he was pushed to stop issuing new well-drilling permits “without statutory authority or regulations.” Ntuk alleges that he filed a complaint with the state on January 4, 2023, and then nine days later he was “forced and coerced to resign.”

Now, the whistleblower suit is set to head to trial on April 1, National Review has learned.

Ntuk says he pushed back against orders to begin enforcing a law governing well drilling that was expected to be placed on hold pending verification of an upcoming referendum in November 2024.

The suit says he was encouraged to enforce S.B. 1137, which would prohibit new wells from being drilled within 3,200 feet of homes, schools, and other “sensitive” locations. While Newsom signed the bill into law on September 16, 2022, the oil industry then gathered the required signatures to put the proposal to voters.

After environmental activists reportedly held private meetings with senior state officials to voice concern over an increase in CalGEM permits for oil-field work within the buffer zone outlined in the law and to ask the state to slow permitting within the affected zones, Ntuk says he was “directed by the governor’s office to continue to implement S.B. 1137 even after [its] qualifying for the November 2024 ballot.”

Ntuk “felt that he did not have the legal nor constitutional authority” to halt all oil-well drilling permits statewide, according to the suit, which goes on to claim he was told to use the referendum’s verification process as rationale to stop issuing permits.

Interesting Read…

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