Press Release: Better Utah Calls for Removal of Oil and Gas Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2019


Salt Lake City, UT – On Tuesday afternoon, legislative auditors released the results of their investigation into the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining, revealing a lack of oversight by the division tasked with regulating resource extraction industries in the state. The audit found the division had “fostered a culture of noncompliance” by failing to enforce regulations that protect the health and safety of Utahns and the environment. 

“Oil, gas, and mining extraction involves very real dangers and threats to the health and safety of Utahns and our environment,” said Chase Thomas, Alliance for a Better Utah’s executive director. “This audit shows that the agency tasked with guarding against these threats was asleep at the wheel. It is utterly absurd that there has not been a single documented case of a fine levied for violations of standards. An immediate course-correction is needed at this important regulatory agency.”

In response to this scathing audit, Alliance for a Better Utah called for the resignation or firing of DOGM’s director, John Baza, who was appointed to the position in 2005. In conjunction with this press release, Better Utah launched a petition so that Utahns across the state can join in call for Baza’s removal. The petition can be signed here.

“This failure in leadership merits a change in leadership,” continued Thomas. “Private industry would never accept such a negative performance review of a division director, especially after 14 years in the position. As residents and taxpayers, we shouldn’t accept it either. It’s time for corrective action and Baza has to go.”


Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at

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