California’s top oil regulator resigned on Monday after only a year and a half in his post amid a controversy that his agency helped governor Jerry Brown map oil and gas potential on family-owned land.
According to the AP, Steven Bohlen, the supervisor of the California Department of Conservation Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, will leave the agency and return to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
A statement issued by the governor’s office said Bohlen was “on loan” from the laboratory and added that he will continue to assist the administration as an unpaid science adviser to the division.
The resignation follows a whistle blower complaint that alleges Bohlen asked agency staff members to map oil, gas and mineral potential for land owned by the Brown family.
The request to map the governor’s Northern California property was made just days after Bohlen’s appointment, the AP said.
Sources told the news service that the maps were unique because they contained drilling information along with color-coded geological records and legends.
The agency’s report concluded that there was most likely not enough petroleum or mineral potential on the 2,700 acre property to justify drilling or mining, an AP investigation found in November.
The agency has said the work was legal and that Brown did not receive any special treatment.
Chief spokeswoman for California’s Natural Resources Agency Nancy Vogel told the LA Times that the materials provided to Brown are readily accessible to any member of the public.
“Everything is available on the [state] website. They did not do a formal assessment. That would have been many weeks of work,” Vogel said.
Ken Harris, 59, will succeed Bohlen, the governor’s office said.
Harris has been the executive officer for the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board since 2012.