Fuel Fight: California Tries to Kick the Oil Habit

Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 2.10.11 PM By Amy Harder | October 16, 2013

LOS ANGELES—Here in the land of perpetually jammed freeways, filling up downtown sets you back $5.09 a gallon. While the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.36, you’d be hard pressed to find anything cheaper than $4 in L.A.

Californians are used to paying some of the highest energy prices in the country, especially in this sprawling city. Not coincidentally, they’re also living in the state most committed to combatting climate change, slashing fossil-fuel consumption, and ramping up renewable energy.

Fuel standards bill’s implementation is vital to California

By Dr. James K. Brown

Oakland Tribune My Word © 2013 Bay Area News Group

August 6, 2013

One year ago Tuesday, a fire at Chevron’s Richmond oil refinery sent black smoke wafting across the East Bay.

Contra Costa Health Services asked residents to stay in their homes, close the windows, and wait it out. About 11,000 people sought medical treatment. Many suffered from eye, nasal and throat irritations that were short-lived. For those with pre-existing asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, their cough and shortness of breath increased dramatically, sometimes for extended periods.

This refinery fire was a dramatic demonstration that air pollution is bad for our health. A more compelling concern is the evidence that chronic, low-level exposure to air pollution has serious long-lasting adverse effects, including stunting of lung growth and increasing asthma among children, premature death in those with chronic lung diseases, and heart attacks.

Scientific Review Finds Fatal Flaws with Oil Industry Study of AB32

An independent panel of scientific experts today reaffirmed that an oil industry association’s study of California’s landmark clean energy law (AB32), in particular the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, was flawed on a number of fronts, saying it did not “include a full accounting of the economic impacts, or the health and welfare impacts of the legislation on the broader population and economy of the state,” such as “positive effects on the health and welfare of the citizens of California that could result from the implementation of AB32.”

EVALUATING BCG’S REPORT: UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACTS OF AB32

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers contracted with the Policy Institute to facilitate an expert evaluation of the report “Understanding the Impacts of AB32” and the subsequent analysis “BCG and CARB LCFS Models: Review of impact of assumptions in three different areas”. These original reports were funded by WSPA and produced by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The stated scope and goals of the BCG report are as follows:

“We analyzed the likely impact of AB32 fuels policies on emissions and refining economics using proprietary BCG models. We then developed a framework to assess how these changes are likely to impact California’s economy along key dimensions including employment, government revenues, and GHG emissions.”

Chevron Lobbies Against California Low-Carbon Rule

Chevron is leading a lobbying and public relations campaign to weaken California’s low-carbon fuel standard, a law the oil company once supported.

Chevron pledged in 2007, the same year California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the low-carbon fuel standard executive order, to develop a gasoline replacement from wood, Bloomberg reports.

A year later Chevron and forest products company Weyerhauser formed a joint venture, Catchlight Energy, to research and develop technology for converting cellulose-based biomass into economical, low-carbon biofuels.

Mary Nichols Named One of Time’s World’s Most Influential People of 2013

If, as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis claimed, states are the laboratories of democracy, then Mary Nichols is the Thomas Edison of environmentalism. Head of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), she has been a fierce champion of cutting-edge technology that is changing her state, a nation and the world.

This is actually Mary’s third turn at CARB. She served twice under then governor Jerry Brown, who held office from 1975 to 1982. She came back to CARB in 2007, preceding Brown’s return to the statehouse by four years. Prior to her most recent CARB stint, Mary worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

California’s Secret To Green Jobs And A Thriving Clean Economy? It’s Policy.

California has a thriving clean economy. In fact, the Golden State boasted more green jobs in clean energy and transportation last year than the other top 4 states combined, according to a new report by Environmental Entrepreneurs.

Tar sands refining in Southern California needs scrutiny, say environmentalists

Oil refiners are sending greater amounts of an especially dirty crude oil product called “tar sands” to their Southern California refineries.

Now environmental groups want regulators to take a closer look

Tar sands hold a kind of semi-solid petroleum. To refine it enough for California standards takes more processing. Oil companies – including Valero, Tesoro and Conoco Phillips – say they’re bringing in more of this raw material because liquid petroleum in California is drying up.

New Report Sheds Light on Major Health Benefits of Cleaner Gasoline and Vehicle Standards

Washington, D.C. (April 4, 2013)

The American Lung Association’s latest report, “A Penny for Prevention: The Case for Cleaner Gasoline and Vehicle Standards” finds that thousands of lives can be saved and millions of missed work and school days can be prevented if the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is able to fully implement the newly proposed standards for cleaner gasoline and cleaner vehicles.

The report finds that by 2030 cleaner gasoline and cleaner vehicle standards could:

  • Prevent more than 2,500 premature deaths annually because of less ozone and particle pollution;
  • Prevent more than 3.3 million days missed at work or school; and
  • Result in $8.5 billion to $22 billion in annual economic and health care benefits

It’s official: Traffic pollution can cause asthma in children

Researchers in Europe have confirmed scientifically what parents in traffic-congested Southern California have known anecdotally for years: Poor air quality associated with busy roads can cause asthma in children.

The study, which examined children’s health in 10 cities, concluded that 14% of chronic childhood asthma cases could be attributed to near-road traffic pollution. It is the first time that medical researchers have made such a direct link — previous studies stopped at saying that traffic pollution is known to trigger asthma, not cause it.