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California governor criticizes increase in fracking permits

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he fired the head of the state’s oil and gas division because he did not “exercise consistency” with Newsom’s opposition to hydraulic fracturing.

The Democratic governor says he does not have the authority to issue a moratorium on fracking but that he wants to move the state away from reliance on oil and gas.

His Friday comments came a day after he fired state Oil and Gas Supervisor Ken Harris partly because of an increase in state-issued fracking permits. A report from anti-fracking groups also showed senior officials in the division held stock in companies they were responsible for regulating.

Harris and spokespeople for the Department of Conservation, which oversees the oil and gas division, did not respond to emails seeking comment.

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