Uduak-Joe Ntuk, a newly-elected member of the Long Beach Community College District Board of Trustees, has been tapped by Gov. Gavin Newsom to serve as the state’s top oil and gas regulator, the governor’s office announced today.
It is unclear whether Ntuk, who works as the petroleum administrator for the city of Los Angeles, will have to step down from his position on the Long Beach board for the new post, which would involve commuting to Sacramento several days a week.
Ntuk would lead the state Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, overseeing oil, gas and geothermal operations across California. The compensation for the position is $209,940 and it does not require Senate confirmation.
Newsom fired the previous head of the division, Ken Harris, in July after The Desert Sun and watchdog groups reported that fracking permits had doubled under Newsom’s watch and that several supervisors who regulate the industry owned shares in major oil companies.
Ntuk, who also works as an engineering professor at Cal State Long Beach, unseated four-term incumbent Jeff Kellogg in April 2018 to represent Area 1 on the college board. His wife, Tunua Thrash Ntuk, is currently running against incumbent Al Austin to represent District 8 on the City Council.
Saturday’s announcement came with rounds of congratulations from LBCC officials, including Board of Trustees President Vivian Malauulu.
“We are very lucky to have a leader such as Vice President Ntuk be selected to serve the Governor and the residents of California,” said LBCCD Superintendent-President Reagan Romali. “This appointment does not come as a surprise as Vice President Ntuk has demonstrated leadership since his first day with the LBCCD Board of Trustees.”
Newsom’s office also announced that the governor signed several bills with the intention of moving California away from fossil fuels.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with clarifications on Ntuk’s job titles.
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