Our economy depends on trucks, trains and ships powered primarily by diesel fuel to move our food, household goods and other commodities in a constant flow throughout California. Unfortunately, freight commerce takes a toll on our health and environment when heavy-duty engines leave noxious fumes in their wake.
Despite ranking among the most profitable corporations in the world, Big Oil benefits from $4 billion in annual tax breaks. It fights to maintain them through aggressive political donations, lobbying, and heavy ad spending, but also employs another tactic: Pretending these tax breaks don’t exist.
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.
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.
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.
In a positive sign for United States energy consumption, a new report shows that the market share of renewable energy sources grew at a larger pace than fossil fuels for the year 2012. Additionally, the first half of this year has seen an enormous surge in renewable energy infrastructure and generating capacity.
For 2012, a decline in the cost of solar and wind infrastructure is partly credited with the surge in use. The International Energy Agency is now feeling more optimistic that renewable sources of energy could make up as much as 25% of global electricity generation by the year 2018.
And in another positive step for America, consumer energy consumption fellsignificantly in 2012, although that was in the wake of increased consumption from corporations.
By Mark Drajem
June 23, 2013
As Congress considers scaling back or abolishing U.S. rules that mandate the use of renewable fuels, it has the full-throated support of the petroleum industry — with one major exception.
BP, one of the world’s biggest oil companies by revenue, is part of a joint venture with DuPont that is set to start producing a new alternative fuel by the end of the year. In order to preserve a market for that fuel, its officials are busy in Washington trying to persuade lawmakers that the current system doesn’t need an overhaul.
We can cut projected U.S. oil use in half over the next 20 years and create more than 1 million jobs, reduce annual oil spending by $550 billion, and eliminate 2 billion metric tons of global warming emissions per year by 2035
When it comes to oil use, our country is at a crossroads: we can put the U.S. on a path toward cutting projected oil consumption in half, or we can continue to threaten our health and economic well-being by moving to increasingly dirty, inaccessible, and dangerous sources of oil.
The choice is clear. It is time to commit to creating a future in which we live in healthier communities, prosper from a strong economy, and help safeguard our planet against the disastrous effects of climate change.
June 12, 2013
By Brant Olson
Oil’s Rail Wager
A series of rail terminals proposed by California’s biggest oil refiners could dramatically increase the supply of crude oil from the Canadian tar sands into the state, potentially posing major health hazards to local communities.
In recent weeks, Valero, Tesoro, and Phillips 66 have all announced plans to build rail facilities that could eventually bring as much as 286,000 barrels of dirty oil per day from the Canadian tar sands into California refineries – roughly five 100-car trains full of oil every day.