Oil Industry Considers Filing a Lawsuit against State Regulators

Oil Industry Considers Filing a Lawsuit against State Regulators



Representatives of the petroleum industry met in Bakersfield Tuesday to discuss when, and not if, they should file a lawsuit against state regulators over what oil producers perceive as unnecessary delays in their review of oilfield injection projects in Sacramento.

Blair Knox, the chairman of the California Oil & Gas Work Group and director of public affairs for the California Independent Petroleum Association, a trade group based in Sacramento, said “This could go public very quickly.” He revealed this in a gathering of industry, state and federal regulators which convened at the Bakersfield office of the Bureau of Land Management said,

According to Knox, such lawsuit, which had never been brought up in public before, could be broad or narrow in scope. He admitted that it has not been decided yet who would file the lawsuit against the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources or its parent agency, the Department of Conservation. However, he revealed that possible candidates to file would include trade unions and associations.

A DOGGR spokesman and the department refused Tuesday to give any comments on the possibility of legal action against the agencies.

Talks of the lawsuit emerged at the work group meeting just as a DOGGR representative was about to deliver a quarterly regulatory update, just as it has done at nearly every meeting of the group for almost two decades. However, nobody from DOGGR showed up to speak, as was the case during the last meeting in the spring.

State Oil and Gas Supervisor Elena Miller, the chief regulator of DOGGR, said she and her staff are a bit busy to attend. However, most of the members of the industry see the absence of Miller as illustrative of her fiercely independent approach to regulate the industry.