The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying organization in Sacramento, spent over $4.67 million, more than any other interest group, while lobbying state government in 2013, according to data released by the Secretary State’s Office and compiled by Capitol Weekly.
SACRAMENTO – The Air Resources Board has announced nearly $1 million in penalties against three companies for late or inaccurate reporting of their greenhouse gas emissions for 2011. This action marks the second time the Air Resources Board has issued fines for violations of California’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting regulation.
By Don Anair and Emiliano Mataka | January 19, 2014
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.
While free-market environmentalists push cap-and-trade systems as a panacea for climate change worries, many in the environmental justice community have yet to buy into it. Their reasons for this vary, but one major concern is that there’s little guarantee that overburdened communities won’t still catch the brunt of industrial pollution. What stops billionaire companies like ExxonMobil from continuing to pollute poor communities if, rather than rein in their emissions under the established cap, they can simply purchase more permits to pollute?
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer sued Allenco Energy Inc.on Tuesday to keep shut oil wells it operates between the University of Southern California and downtown while investigators look into complaints of illness among nearby low-income residents.
Allenco closed the wells in November after Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) called for a suspension of operations. Boxer made her plea after members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suffered some of the same symptoms as residents during a tour of the facility.
The closure by Allenco was voluntary while it negotiated with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) for an agreement that would allow its pumping to resume. But a number of critics think the agency has been complacent and unwilling to challenge the company despite 251 complaints over a three-year period and the issuance of 15 citations for various violations. They want something more (pdf) than self-reporting by Allenco on air quality around the site.
Two new federal reports on the 2012 Chevron refinery explosion and fire reveal a broken regulatory system and a company insufficiently sensitive to the safety of its workers and the community.
The conclusion is clear: Industry cannot be trusted to monitor itself, and government inspectors need more resources and legal authority to protect people and the environment.
Vapor released from a ruptured pipe fueled the inferno at the Richmond facility that nearly killed 19 workers, spewed tons of pollutant-laced black smoke into the air for hours, sent 15,000 seeking medical attention and hospitalized about 20.
It could have been much worse, and Americans are lucky there haven’t been more incidents like it. In 2012 alone, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s latest report, there were 125 significant petroleum refinery incidents nationwide.
Today’s publication in the journal Climatic Change by Richard Heede on Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854-2010 provides a robust scientific basis for motivating fresh thinking and dialogue about responsibility for taking action to address climate change.
The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.
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.