Monday, November 09, 2015

Jerry Brown targeted by a (lightweight) pseudoscandal report

Scandal accusations have been pretty rare for Jerry Brown. But no politician with as long a record in public life as his can expect to escape them entirely.

The AP published a story last week that had all the initial look of a pseudoscandal. And that's still what it looks like. This column by George Skelton, Controversy over oil study on Brown ranch is mainly bull Los Angeles Times 11/09/2015. It would be hard for me to improve on Skelton's summary of the flap:

The AP reported that 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" north of Sacramento in Colusa County.

The governor has 2,700 acres that were settled by his ancestors during the Gold Rush. It's rolling, isolated country that ascends into the foothills. There he has built a small cabin, basically a crude shelter with no electricity or even a toilet. It's a fun, nostalgic thing for him — probably a lot more so than for his wife.

The wire service story said that 'after a phone call from the governor and follow-up requests from his aides,' the regulatory agency 'produced a 51-page historical report and geological assessment, plus a personalized satellite-imaged geological and oil and gas-drilling map' of the area.

You know, just like any ordinary citizen would expect to receive.

But the characterization of the service appears to be a stretch. Except for a one-page personal memo, all the material collected for the governor amounted to merely a pile of old letters sent other property owners, historic data from yesteryear and some oil field maps.

"Everything is available on the [state] website," said Nancy Vogel, chief spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Agency, the umbrella entity for these regulators. "If you know how to find it.["]

"They did not do a formal assessment. That would have been many weeks of work." ...

Two petroleum experts who aren't necessarily Brown fans confirmed to me that all this stuff is available on the state's oil and gas website. [my emphasis]
The part about Jerry's 19th-century style cabin is a nice touch.

No comments: