Front Groups

The oil industry has been practicing the art of deceit for decades.

Big Oil spends a lot of money running front groups that pretend to represent the real concerns of people and businesses. In reality, these groups are fighting for the oil industry’s agenda—and against laws that improve our health and economy.

Let us break it down for you.

Big Oil’s Front Group Puppets

  • Spawned: 1907, making WSPA the oldest petroleum trade association in the U.S.
  • Info: The mother ship for most AB 32/LCFS opposition groups. WSPA is a trade organization for companies such as Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, Tesoro and Valero – and the oil industry’s top lobbyist in California.
    • Since 2009, WSPA has spent more than $25.5 million dollars on lobbying in California. Chevron is WSPA’s leading member and a frequent funder of the groups listed below; since 2009, Chevron has spent nearly $14 million lobbying in California.
  • Contact: Twitter: @OfficialWSPA – https://www.wspa.org/
  • Leader: Cathy Reheis-Boyd, President of WSPA – Twitter: @WSPAPrez
  • Status: Dormant
  • Spawned: 2006
  • Info: The ironically named group works to kill AB 32. It’s a c4, meaning they don’t have to reveal their funding, but the principle organizations running AB32IG are the California Chamber of Commerce, CMTA and WSPA.
  • Contact: @AB32_IG
  • Info: WSPA-funded front group working against AB 32, LCFS, and the RPS. CARE is managed by KP Public Affairs on behalf of WSPA. Since January 1, 2013, WSPA has paid KP Public Affairs $1.7 million in lobbying fees.
  • Contact: @CAREAboutEnergy
  • Spawned: July 2014
  • Info: WSPA-funded front group created to fight C&T/fuels under the cap. Members included WSPA, Inland Empire Economic Partnership, Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, and California Urban Partnership. In July 2015, re-launched as WSPA-branded web site focused on killing SB 350 (de León).
    • Additional info for subpage: CA Drivers Alliance web site domain is owned by The Wayne Johnson Agency, a longtime Republican consultant; CDA was first mentioned at LA Chamber Event. CDA’s video ads were produced by Gateway Media, which is an arm of The Wayne Johnson Agency.
  • Twitter: @CA_DriversAlliance
  • Info: WSPA/CMTA/Chevron/CalChamber front group.
  • Contact: Twitter: @JobsNotTaxes
  • HIRED GUNS:
    • Redwood Pacific (lead consultant) – Spinoff of Goddard Clausen, which was a lead consultant in the Yes on Prop 23 campaign http://www.redwoodpacific.com/ (Redwood Pacific registered CAHT’s URL http://morejobsnottaxes.com.ipaddress.com; address on this letter is Redwood Pacific; see this case study on Redwood Pacific’s web site)
    • HIRED GUN Beth Miller, Miller Public Affairs (PR)
  • Status: Defunct (now redirects to Californians for Energy Independence)
  • Info: Oil industry-funded front group that opposed the oil severance tax (also known as “Stop the Oil Tax”).
  • HIRED GUN Redwood Pacific (lead consultant) – Spinoff of Goddard Clausen, which was a lead consultant in the Yes on Prop 23 campaign http://www.redwoodpacific.com/
  • Phone # on web site is the same phone # as for “Californians for Energy Independence”
  • Info: Oil industry-funded front group [originally named “Californians for a Safe, Secure Energy Future”] focused on support for fracking, against oil severance, and against AB 32.
  • Members include: California Chamber of Commerce, California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA), Independent Oil Producers’ Agency, National Federation of Independent Business/California and WSPA.
  • Contact: Twitter: @NRGIndependence
  • HIRED GUN Bicker Castillo & Fairbanks – BCF worked on No on Proposition 23 campaign in 2010.
  • HIRED GUN Sabrina Lockhart (PR)
  • Status: Dormant
  • Info: Opposition group focused on C&T/fuels under the cap. Most active during summer of 2014.
  • Contact: @TankTheTax
  • HIRED GUN Mike Williams (Lobbyist for International Warehouse & Logistics Association); IWLA is based in Chicago.
  • Status: Dormant
  • Info: Opposition group organized by CA Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA) to fight C&T/fuels under the cap. Active during summer of 2014.
  • Contact: Twitter: @FedUpAtThePump –
  • HIRED GUN: Perry Communications (PR consultant; Kassy Perry, President & CEO Twitter: @KassyPerry) – Lists CIOMA as a client; Perry Communications worked on gas pump labeling bill (Jones).
  • Status: Largely dormant
  • Info: Positioned itself as the “legitimate” recruiting tool for WSPA, bringing mainstream and other pro-clean fuel stakeholders into its fold (i.e., Avis, United Airlines, UPS.) Represents itself as representing the interests of consumers on fuel prices, but closely aligns itself/its messaging with WSPA. Sole purpose is to derail the LCFS. Sole funding from Chevron.
  • Fun Fact: Fueling California is Stop Fooling CA’s namesake
  • Contact: Twitter: @FuelingCA
  • HIRED GUN Austin Lee, Capitol Public Affairs (lead consultant)
  • HIRED GUN Platinum Advisors (consultant)
  • Spawned: 2013
  • Info: Focused on opposition to truck rule and AB 32.
  • Status: Mostly dormant
  • Info: Frequent partner of WSPA, California Chamber of Commerce, etc. Trade association for older industry/ manufacturing companies.
  • Contact: Twitter: @CMTA
  • HIRED GUN: Woodward & McDowell

What Lies Have They Told?

We’ve noticed a pattern. Every time there’s a new law designed to keep consumers safe and healthy, the oil industry says anything it can to scare people into thinking the status quo is best.

What have they said?

What they said vs what actually Happened

WHAT THEY SAID WHAT HAPPENED
Transportation fuels under Cap and Trade

"Starting Jan. 1, 2015, Californians will pay 16 to 76 cents more per gallon."


The increase was so small and happened so fast that almost no one noticed.

Transportation fuels under Cap and Trade

"This new mandate will increase fuel costs by 4% to 19%, or 16 to 76 cents per gallon at the pump.”


There was no price spike, not like in 2012, when the Chevron Richmond refinery fire caused prices to jump 30c per gallon almost overnight. "California did see a little bump … but it’s being washed out by the larger trends in the oil market."

Transportation fuels under Cap and Trade

“California will lose more than 18,000 jobs and $2.9 billion of economic output next year alone…”


"California had a job growth rate of 3.1% in 2014 – adding jobs faster than the overall national rate of 2.3% in the same period – and our unemployment rate has fallen throughout 2015."

Transportation fuels under Cap and Trade

“This new cost at the pump could push California over the fiscal cliff again and … back into recession.”


May 2014 | Bloomberg →

California’s economy is the world’s seventh largest and continues to grow – expanding in 2014 by almost every measure.

January 2015 | Bloomberg →
Clean Cars Program

The regulation would serve to ban SUVs, reduce vehicle safety and performance and limit choice


August 2008 | Market Watch →

"The national 54.5-mpg fuel economy standard was based on California’s Clean Cars Program.
In 2014, California surpassed 100,000 plug-in car sales, setting a new world record."

September 2014 | Market Watch →
Clean Cars Program

Californians are not going to get any health benefits, emissions benefits, etc., from these regulations.


August 2008 | Clean Cars Campaign →

Analysis has found that California drivers will save 1.6 billion gallons of gasoline and $4 billion at the pump by 2016, while reducing 14 million tons of pollution.

Cap and trade

“… [Cap-and-trade] would raise energy costs, harm the economy and impact California’s competitiveness.”


California’s economy is thriving and per capita carbon emissions have dropped 17% since1990.

Cap and trade

“These policies will create a large but hidden tax on families and will add new burdens to the fragile state economy.”


July 2012 | Bloomberg →

Per capita annual income in California was estimated to have increased by $1,700 in 2014, to $50,338.

January 2015 | Bloomberg →
Cap and trade

“This poses great risks to manufacturers and other firms.”


California manufacturing leads the nation, with the highest total manufacturing output of any state. The manufacturing sector has grown in the past year and is projected to continue to do so in 2015–2016. Prior to 2010, before AB32 began having positive economic impacts, the sector was in a state of decline for a decade.

Cap and trade

“Small business will get hit from all sides. Consumers will have less money…”


July 2012 | Bloomberg →

The California economy expanded in 2014 by almost every measure and is set to overtake Brazil as the world’s seventh-largest economy, with even stronger growth anticipated from 2015–2017.

January 2015 | Bloomberg →

Memes

News

Twitter

Resources

  • Oil Change International

    Oil Change International

    Oil Change International is a research, communication, and advocacy organization focused on exposing the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitating the coming transition towards clean energy.

  • Exxon Secrets

    Exxon Secrets

    An interactive site highlighting how ExxonMobile funds climate denial.

  • The Climate Deception Dossiers

    Union of Concerned Scientists

    Internal Fossil Fuel Industry Memos Reveal Decades of Corporate Disinformation