Sacramento, California - Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced new leadership for the state’s geologic resources agency and signed several bills to move California away from fossil fuels.

“California is a leader in the fight to transition away from fossil fuels. These bills put intentions into action,” said Governor Newsom. “These reforms and new leadership will enhance safety of existing oil wells, refocus the state’s geologic energy division to better consider public health and fight against the Trump administration’s efforts to expand oil extraction in California.” 

Governor Newsom appointed David Shabazian as the new director of the Department of Conservation, and Uduak-Joe Ntuk as the new division supervisor, which operates under the Department of Conservation umbrella. Their biographies can be found below.

AB 342 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) prohibits any state entity, including the State Lands Commission and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, among others, or any local trustee from entering into a lease or other conveyance authorizing new construction of oil- and gas-related infrastructure on federally protected lands.

SB 551 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) requires that oil and gas well operators provide estimates of the cost to plug and abandon wells and decommission attendant oil and gas production facilities.

Also, the Governor signed AB 1057 by Assemblymember Monique Limόn (D-Santa Barbara), which renames DOGGR the Geologic Energy Management Division. It also specifies that its mission include protecting public health and safety and environmental quality, including the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions.

AB 1328 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) requires the submission of testing data conducted on idle and abandoned wells for publication on the DOGGR's website. 

SB 463 by Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) improves the reporting of the chemical composition of leaks from natural gas storage wells, and requires the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources to review and revise its natural gas storage well regulations and policy. 

AB 936 by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) fills a critical gap in existing law by establishing contingency planning for all types of nonfloating oil spills, and providing the Office of Spill Prevention and Response with information, financial resources, and technical and administrative tools to prepare for a nonfloating oil spill and respond to one if it occurs. 

Shabazian, 53, of Sacramento, has been appointed director of the California Department of Conservation. Shabazian has been program manager of rural-urban connections strategy for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments since 2007, where he has also served as project manager of water resources and floodplain program management since 2004. He was deputy project manager for blueprint land use - transportation study at the Sacramento Area Council of Governments from 2000 to 2004, a post-graduate researcher at the University of California, Davis from 1996 to 2000 and a planner for the City of Davis from 1994 to 1996. He is chair of the Center for Land-Based Learning Board of Directors and a member of the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services Board. Shabazian earned a Master of Science degree in transportation technology and policy from the University of California, Davis. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $190,008. Shabazian is registered without party preference.

Ntuk, 40, of Long Beach, has been appointed supervisor of the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources at the California Department of Conservation. Ntuk has been petroleum administrator for the City of Los Angeles since 2016 and an adjunct faculty member at the California State University, Long Beach Chemical Engineering Department since 2015. He was petroleum engineering associate for the City of Long Beach from 2011 to 2016 and held several positions at Chevron Corporation from 2006 to 2011, including reservoir engineer and production engineer. Ntuk was an academic advisor at the California State University, Long Beach College of Engineering from 2003 to 2005. He is an elected member of the Long Beach City College Board of Trustees. Ntuk earned a Master of Science degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $209,940. Ntuk is a Democrat.