Blyther to the Top
Story and photo courtesy Public Works
Public Works: Erica Blyther has been named Administrator of the City of Los Angeles Office of Petroleum and Natural Gas Administration and Safety (OPNGAS). Previously she had been Acting Administrator.
The appointment was announced May 24 by Board of Public Works President Greg Good.
Erica Blyther had served as Acting Petroleum Administrator since late 2019 when the previous Administrator left to run the California Geological Energy Management Division (CALGEM) of the State’s Natural Resources Department. In her Acting position, she helped liaise between the agencies responsible for the management, policy, and oversight of oil fields, gas storage facilities, petroleum refineries and pipeline franchise agreements. Since she began working as Acting Administrator, a new pipeline franchise fee study has also been initiated.
Previously, she worked as an Environmental Affairs Officer in OPNGAS, working directly with the Petroleum Administrator, as well as overseeing environmental affairs and community engagement, with an additional focus on policy analysis.
“Having worked closely with Ms. Blyther over the past year, I have absolute confidence that we’ve made the right choice,” Good said in a statement. “Her ability to work with diverse constituencies – ranging from environmental justice advocates and frontline communities, to regulatory agencies and labor – will be crucial as we navigate the complex landscape of oil and gas policy in our City, and usher in a new era in the history of oil in Los Angeles.”
In a parallel motion, the City Council has approved new funding for additional staff and resources in the recently approved budget.
The newly approved resources include three positions to establish a drill site compliance and review pilot program and over $3.5 million and several positions in the Unappropriated Balance to initiate an amortization study of existing sites, which is necessary to determine timeline for making oil and gas extraction an incompatible land use within the City. In addition, two new positions in Planning and one in LAFD will help create a citywide collaborative approach to the City’s oversight efforts.
Before coming to the OPNGAS, Erica Blyther worked in sustainability at Airports and is a 23-year veteran of the City. Throughout her career, she has worked in different City departments on environmental issues, including water quality, water conservation, water supply, energy, policy, CEQA/NEPA, air quality, storm water and hazardous substance management. She graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science and policy and obtained her Master’s degree in environmental and occupational health from Cal State Northridge while working full time and participating in the City’s tuition reimbursement program. Erica is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist with the State of California (REHS).
The office of Petroleum and Natural Gas Administration and Safety (OPNGAS) is responsible for the oversight and policy of oil fields, gas storage facilities, petroleum refineries and pipeline franchise agreements. OPNGAS works alongside other regulatory agencies, including the Southern California Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), CALGEM, the California EPA, as well as the LAFD.