Newsom vetoes bill requiring Legislature confirmation of oil supervisor

By vetoing the bill, Governor Gavin Newsom refused to give away the power he holds over the state’s contentious oil permitting process.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has rejected a bill that would cut into his power to regulate the state’s oil and gas industry. 

This veto comes half a year after California’s top oil and gas regulator resigned. 


The backstory: In January, former California Geologic Energy Management Division boss Uduak-Joe Ntuk, the state’s chief oil regulator, resigned after environmental groups pressured Newsom to force him out. 

  • Before he resigned, Ntuk issued new oil drilling permits at a 754 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2022. 

Driving the news: Sen. Shannon Grove (R–Bakersfield) introduced Senate Bill 275 in February, which would require Senate confirmation for Newsom’s appointment for the state oil and gas supervisor. 

  • SB 275 passed with widespread bipartisan support. 

The big picture: Newsom issued a veto to SB 275 last week, blocking the Senate from curtailing his power over the state’s oil and gas industry. 

What they’re saying: In his veto, Newsom said that he shares the Legislature’s desire for appointments to be made effectively and transparently, but the Senate already confirms the appointment to the Director of Conservation, which directly oversees the oil and gas supervisor. 

  • “[A]n appointee to this position already undergoes an extensive and exhaustive identification, evaluation, and selection process, a process that ensures the appointee is experienced and fully capable of carrying out our shared policy objectives of protecting public health, safety, and the environment,” Newsom wrote.
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