California Senators opposing fracking moratorium received 14x more money from Big Oil

By Dan Bacher | June 7, 2014 | Five days after a bill calling for a moratorium on fracking in California failed in the State Sen...


By Dan Bacher | June 7, 2014 |

Five days after a bill calling for a moratorium on fracking in California failed in the State Senate, a non partisan watchdog group revealed that those who voted against the legislation or abstained from voting on it received many times more in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry than those who supported the bill. 

State Senators voting 'NO' on the fracking moratorium bill on Thursday, May 29 received 14 times as much money the oil and gas industry, on average ($25,227), as senators voting 'YES' ($1,772) from January 1, 2009 to December 21, 2012, according to MapLight, a non profit organization revealing money's influence on politics. 

The report also said the Democrats who abstained from voting on the moratorium received, on average, 4.5 times as much money from the oil and gas industry as the Democrats who voted 'YES'. 

Under intense pressure from the Western States Petroleum Association, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum and other oil companies, the Senate failed to pass Senate Bill 1132, legislation that would have placed a moratorium on oil and gas well stimulation treatments, including hydraulic and acid fracturing, until the government completes a scientific study of the practices' impacts on human and environmental health. The legislation was authored by Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno.   

The final vote was 16-16, with eight Senators not voting. Twenty-one votes were required for the bill to pass. Three of those with no vote recorded – Leland Yee, Rod Wright and Ron Calderon - have been suspended from the Senate due to corruption allegations. 

"If the five active senators who abstained from voting -all Democrats-voted in favor, the moratorium would have passed," according to a statement from MapLight. “The Democrats who abstained from voting on the moratorium have received, on average, 4.5 times as much money from the oil and gas industry as the Democrats who voted 'YES'." 

Senator Jeanne Fuller (R), who received $52,300 from the oil and gas industry, more than any other senator voting on the bill, voted 'NO'. 

Fuller is known not only for her big contributions from the oil and gas industry but from corporate agribusiness in Kern County. It was Fuller who sponsored legislation to eradicate striped bass in the Bay-Delta estuary, a bill that failed twice due to massive opposition by recreational anglers and grassroots environmentalists. 

The oil industry contributions to the Senators voting NO were as follows: 
Joel Anderson (R) $18,750 
Tom Berryhill (R): $15,000 
Anthony Cannella (R): $40,150 
Lou Correa (D): $11,350 
Jean Fuller (R): $52,300 
Ted Gaines (R): $27,250 
Cathleen Galgiani (D): $24,950 
Ed Hernandez (D): $23,250 
Bob Huff (R): $45,550 
Steve Knight (R): $24,050 
Mike Morrell (R): $19,300 
Norma Torres (D): $13,250 
Mimi Walters (R): $51,000 
Mark Wyland (R) - $12,250 

When one adds in the oil industry contributions for 2013, the campaign contributions mushroom. For example, Fuller received $76,850 from 2009 to 2013, while Galgiani received $47,600. 

The oil and gas industry contributions to those Democrats who abstained from voting were as follows: 
Marty Block: $2000 
Jerry Hill: $3,950 
Ben Hueso: $12,400 
Ricardo Lara: $21,300 
Richard Roth: $ 0 

The MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from PACs and employees of oil and gas interests to legislators in office on day of vote was during the period from January 1, 2009 - December 31, 2012. The National Institute of Money in State Politics was the data source for the campaign contributions. 



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