Big Oil treated legislators to $13,000 dinner before fracking bill vote

Screen shot 2013-11-11 at 10.12.07 AM By Dan Bacher | November 7, 2013

There’s no doubt that the Western States Petroleum Association, Chevron and other oil companies use every avenue they can to dominate environmental policy in California, including lobbying legislators, contributing heavily to election campaigns, serving on state regulatory panels, and wining and dining politicians. Until we get the big corporate money out of politics, California will continue to be awash in a sea of oil money.

Oil industry treated California legislators to $13K dinner as fracking bill loomed

Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 2.57.01 PM By Laurel Rosenhall | November 4, 2013

As negotiations heated up at the end of the legislative session over a bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing in California, oil companies poured millions into lobbying the Legislature, quarterly reports released last week show.

The three interest groups that spent the most money lobbying in California between July 1 and Sept. 30 were oil and gas companies: Chevron ($1,696,477), the Western States Petroleum Association ($1,269,478) and Aera Energy LLC ($1,015,534), according to filings with the secretary of state.

Nearly $13,000 of the Western States Petroleum Association’s spending went toward hosting a dinner for 12 lawmakers and two staff members at one of Sacramento’s poshest venues: The Kitchen, known for its interactive dining experience where guests sit in the kitchen as cooks share details of the five-course meal. Moderate Democrats seemed to be the target audience for the treat: Assembly members Adam Gray, Henry Perea and Cheryl Brown attended, as did Sens. Norma Torres, Ron Calderon and Lou Correa.

 

Viewpoints: Bill focuses on gas price manipulation

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 5.28.45 PM By Robert McCullough, The Sac Bee
August 31, 2013

California, we have a fuel problem.

Over the past two years, California gas prices have continued to soar, sparking some of the highest prices in the nation.

Oil companies are quick to point the finger at supply and demand, oil markets or the state’s clean air laws as causes for recent spikes, but don’t be fooled. These reasons merely serve as smokescreens to a much larger problem facing consumers at the pump – potential price manipulation.

However, for those concerned about gasoline following the oil price spike over the past few days, there’s possible relief in sight.

High Oil Prices Pump Up Concern

By Charlie Feder

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer is under way, with its barbecues, parades, beach trips – and higher gas prices. And Angelenos recently found themselves paying a dizzying 11 cents more for every gallon – in an area that already ranks among the top five in the nation for high gas prices.

As a business owner who operates an all-natural gas fleet, we will avoid the fluctuations of summer gas prices, but our customers will feel the impacts.

Meanwhile, with $44 billion in profits last year, the oil companies’ grip on the industry affects our personal savings and business operations, and the nation’s economy. To be sure, gas prices rise and fall for many reasons, but one dangerous constant is that here in California, in particular, large oil companies are increasingly consolidated, reducing competition and generating concerns that consumers have ever-fewer defenses.

ExxonMobil, PG&E fined for violating greenhouse gas reporting rule

By Tony Barboza
July 15, 2013, 1:09 p.m.

Nine companies have been fined for filing late or inadequate reports about their greenhouse gas emissions as required by the state, California air regulators announced.

The companies included Exxon Mobil Corp., which was fined $120,000 for filing late and inaccurate data on its Torrance refinery and Pacific Gas & Electric Co., which agreed to pay $20,000 for delays in reporting emissions it generates as a natural gas supplier.

Gas prices cut into spring break travel, survey says

With average gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon, fewer Southern California residents say they plan to take a leisure trip over spring break, according to a survey by the Auto Club of Southern California.

The annual survey of Auto Club members found that 47% said they plan at least one leisure trip this spring break season, compared to 57% in 2012 and 55% in 2011.

‘Frackademia’ Strikes Again at USC With ‘Powering California’ Study Release

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Frackademia” — shorthand for bogus science, economics and other research results paid for by the oil and gas industry and often conducted by “frackademics” with direct ties to the oil and gas industry — has struck again in California.

It comes in the form of a major University of Southern California (USC) report on the potential economic impacts of a hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) boom in California’s Monterey Shale basinthat’s hot off the presses, “Powering California: The Monterey Shale and California’s Economic Future.”

 

America’s Most Obvious Tax Reform Idea: Kill the Oil and Gas Subsidies

In a world where $100-a-barrel oil is here to stay, there’s no need to pad the industry’s bottom line.

When Saudi Arabia’s longtime oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, opens his mouth, the world listens. Yesterday, during a speech in Hong Kong, he delivered a message that U.S. policy makers in particular would do well to take note of. The days of $100-a-barrel crude, he told the crowd, are here “for the foreseeable future.”

If he’s right, one thing that shouldn’t be around for the foreseeable future are the outdated tax credits that protect oil and gas companies, which will be plenty profitable in a world of $100-a-barrel oil. If Democrats and Republicans are looking for safe ground to set up camp for the budget negotiations, let’s start with these $7 billion-a-yearsubsidies.