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Why Gov. Newsom Fired California's Top Oil & Gas Regulator



California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered the firing of an agency chief after discovering a large increase in new fracking permits. Capital Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero has more.

The decision to fire Ken Harris came Thursday, hours after new data revealed permits for hydraulic fracturing were issued at twice last year's rate. Harris lead the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources.


The report also found eight state oil and gas regulators have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the oil companies they regulate.


Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance say "this is morally wrong" and "reveal a biased department."


Governor Newsom is exploring how to reduce dependence of fossil fuels. In his new budget he includes $1.5 million dollars to study how to restrict oil production in the state. The goal is to figure out a way for California to become carbon neutral by 2045.


In Sacramento, I’m Ezra David Romero.

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.