SACRAMENTOFirst uncovered by the Desert Sun, Californians learned today that the state agency responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has been using “dummy” files to allow fossil fuel companies to avoid review and continue risky projects without oversight. This news comes one month after Governor Newsom’s office fired DOGGR head Ken Harris for doubling the fracking permits issued during his time as governor without his knowledge and reports of conflict of interest among senior officials. 

In response, the environmental, health, justice, faith, labor, community, parent, and consumer organizations with Last Chance Alliance called on Governor Newsom to immediately halt the permitting of new oil and gas wells and set a national and global precedent by becoming the first oil-producing state to announce a phase-out of existing production, issuing the following statements: 

“The State’s oversight of the oil and gas industry has been too lax for too long,” said Dan Jacobson, State Director of Environment California.Oil drilling is dirty and dangerous. We need to phase out this antiquated practice. If it is to continue it needs strict oversight and severe penalties for companies that violate the law.”

“This is the most damning evidence yet that DOGGR is nothing more than a rubber stamp for the oil industry,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “Instead of protecting our air, water and health, these regulators are running the agency on auto-pilot and unleashing a dangerous drilling free-for-all in California. To protect Californians and the climate, Gov. Newsom needs to overhaul this sham of an agency and phase out the state’s dirty oil production and infrastructure.”

“DOGGR may be using dummy files but the people of California are not dummies and want bold leadership on climate,” said Alexandra Nagy, California Director for Food & Water Watch. “It’s time Governor Newsom take on the industry that’s poisoning our planet, put a moratorium on new permits, and move the state off fossil fuels.”

“DOGGR’s use of dummy permits proves once again that this scofflaw agency cannot be trusted.  Another round of firings by Gov. Newsome is needed to protect climate and communities, and to rebuild the integrity of California government agencies,” said Doug Norlen, Director, Economic Policy Program, Friends of the Earth U.S.

“This latest scandal exposes just how far through DOGGR the oil has seeped. Governor Newsom needs to take leadership and put an end to not just dummy files but to all new permitting for the dirty oil and gas production these dummies support. Our climate and communities depend on smart decision making from California leadership and it’s time for Governor Newsom to bring it,” said David Turnbull, Strategic Communications Director, Oil Change International

“Big Oil has been poisoning our communities, polluting our democracy and corrupting our regulatory agencies for decades,” said Bahram Fazeli, Director research and policy, Communities for A Better Environment. “We need bold and visionary leadership that prioritizes healthy economic revitalization strategies and moves California away from the gilded age of fossil fuels.”

“The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens,” said Thomas Jefferson, quoted by Linda Hutchins-Knowles, Senior Organizer with Mothers Out Front. She added,“DOGGR, by fast-tracking drilling projects without review, is shirking its sacred duty and perpetuating environmental racism, since most drilling in the state takes place in communities of color and low income communities. We urge Gov. Newsom to stand up for environmental justice by fundamentally reforming DOGGR and beginning the process of weaning our state off fossil-fuel production. We owe it to our children to begin a just transition, now.” 

“This is just another illustration of how DOGGR is in desperate need of reform. The State should do more than fire staff to hold this agency accountable,” said Alvaro Palacios Casanova, a Kern County based Senior Policy Advocate for Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. Steam injection is a dangerous drilling practice. This article highlights why AB 345 (Muratsuchi) is a no-brainer piece of legislation, this dangerous drilling practice should not be occurring nowhere near sensitive land uses.” 

“DOGGR’s actions are immoral and unjust. This type of wanton corruption in our government agencies run counter to the values of millions of people in California who believe that clean air, fresh water, and safe housing are basic needs and fundamental human rights,” said Matt Nelson, Executive Director of “Real leadership strengthens communities by providing oversight on those who seek to destroy our health and the environment. We will stop these destructive and shortsighted efforts to profit from the pain and resources extracted from our families.”