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.
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.