Western States Petroleum Association has spent $6.6 million lobbying CA officials in 2019 so far

By Dan Bacher | 

Unlike many other oil and gas producing states including Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania, supposedly “green” California has no health and safety zones around oil and gas drilling operations.
For example, the state of Texas requires the fracking operations maintain 250-foot setbacks from homes, schools and other facilities while the City of Dallas mandates 1500 foot setbacks around oil and gas wells.
This year Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) introduced legislation, AB 345, to change things in California. This legislation would ensure that new oil and gas wells not on federal land are located 2,500 feet away from homes, schools, hospitals, playgrounds and health clinics.
Unfortunately, intense lobbying pressure from the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and legislators receiving big donations from Chevron and other big oil companies prevented the legislature from approving the legislation — and it has been made into a two-year bill.

Cont. below
On the evening before the Global Climate Strikes that took place on September 20, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted 7-4-1 to approve the controversial Tropical Forest Standard (TFS) at its 10-hour-long meeting in Sacramento. Opponents of the TFS say will the decision will pave the way “for California’s polluters to continue paying to further pollute through a flawed market scheme that hurts public health, with no meaningful climate mitigation or protections for indigenous sovereignty.” The carbon trading scheme that CARB is currently promoting is made possible through the controversial cap-and-trade bill, AB 398, based on a Big Oil/Western States Petroleum Association wish list, that Governor Brown signed in September 2017. Daniel Ilario of Idle No More SF Bay holds up a sign opposing the standard.

AB 345 is one of many bills that Big Oil has fought over the past three years, resulting in very few bills opposed by the oil and gas industry from making it out of the Legislature and to the Governor’s Desk.
WSPA, the most powerful corporate lobbying group in California and the West has spent $6,608,836 to date in 2019. The group spent $2,482,133 lobbying in 2019's third quarter after spending $4,126,703 in the first 2 quarters of the year, according to forms WSPA filed with the California Secretary of State on October 30.
We won't find out until January 31, 2020 their total 2019 spending, but based on the spending to date, it could be even more than last year. 
The Western States Petroleum Association is usually the top spender in California lobbying each year, although the embattled Pacific Gas & Electric Company, now going through bankruptcy proceedings, outspent WSPA in 2018. PG&E spent nearly $10 million on lobbying in 2018, surpassing the $7,874,807 WSPA spent to influence California government officials. 
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) appears to be regaining its status as the California lobbying champ, a position it has held most years, greatly outspending PG&E in lobbying in the first three quarters of the 2019-2020 Legislative Session. In contrast with WSPA’s $6,608,836, PG&E has spent $2,198,222 to date, including $376,382 on PUC lobbying, from July 1 to September 30.  
As WSPA spent millions on lobbying legislators and state regulators this year, the State’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) from January 1 to June 3, 2019 approved 2,365 new oil and gas well permits and 191 fracking permits, according to Department of Conservation data released by Consumer Watchdog and the FracTracker Alliance in July.
The data revealed that this year regulators have “considerably increased” the number of permits granted for drilling new wells by 35.3%, well reworks by 28.3%, and hydraulic fracturing by 103.2%, as compared to the permitting rate during the final year of the Brown administration in 2018, according to the groups.
Even more alarming, of the 2,365 well permits issued, 1064 or 45% of them benefitted oil companies invested in by DOGGR officials, the groups reported: www.dailykos.com/…
A review of state financial conflict of disclosure forms also found that eight oil and gas regulators below were invested in the oil industry that they regulate.
After the two groups exposed the expansion of oil and gas drilling and big conflicts of interests by senior DOGGR officials, Newsom fired Ken Harris, the head of DOGGR.
In September, Janet Wilson, reporter for the Desert Sun, found that California had issued no new fracking permits since late June, but that “enhanced recovery” wells had increased by 60 percent this year and the regular and oil gas drilling permits had increased by 20 percent in 2019: www.desertsun.com/… 
Not only are permits for enhanced recovery wells up 60% and regular oil and gas drilling up 20%  this year, but California officials have in fact proposed the deepening of reliance on fossil fuels in the state that directly opposes California’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045, according to a new report by Food and Watch Watch.
“The new report, California Leads: How to Break Fossil Fuel Dependence in the Golden Statedetails the web of fossil fuel infrastructure - including 298 gas-fired power plants and 100,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines - currently engulfing the state, and the alarming proposed expansion of this network,” according to the group.  
Here is the legislation and regulations that WSPA lobbied for in just the third quarter of 2019, to give you an idea of how extensive their lobbying is:
AB 40,190,345,423,585,864,936,937,1046,1054,1057,1284,1328,1440,1441,1500; 
SB 1,4,43,69,83,169,246 332,551; 

CALIFORNIA AIR - RESOURCES BOARD - IMPLEMENTATION OF AB 617, LOW CARBON FUEL STANDARD, AT-BERTH, SULFUR HEXAFLUORIDE,EMISSION REDUCTION CREDITS; CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION - R. 18-12-005, R.19-01-006; 

DIVISION OF OIL GAS AND GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES - SB 4 IMPLEMENTATION, WELL CONSTRUCTION REGULATIONS, UNDERGROUND INJECTION - CONTROL REGULATIONS, PROFESSIONAL LICENSING REQUIREMENTS, WILDFIRE INVESTMENT OWNED UTILITIES LIABILITY; 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY - AB 617 IMPLEMENTATION, UNDERGROUND INJECTION CONTROL REGULATIONS, RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT; 

GOVERNOR'S OFFICE - SB 901 IMPLEMENTATION,WILDFIRE INVESTMENT - OWNED UTILITIES LIABILITY,ELECTRICITY RATES; 

LEGISLATURE - WILDFIRE INVESTMENT OWNED UTILITIES LIABILITY, ELECTRICITY RATES; 

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION - PERMISSIBLE EXPOSURE LIMITS; 

OFFICE OF SPILL PREVENTION AND RESPONSE - SPILL MANAGEMENT TEAMS; 

STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD - SB 4 RELATED - ISSUES, SB 4 IMPLEMENTATION, UNDERGROUND INJECTION CONTROL REGULATIONS, PER-AND POLYFLUOROALKYL, TOXICITY 
Background: Big Oil’s Lobbying Group, the Western States Petroleum Association
WSPA represents a who’s who of oil companies, including oil giants BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Shell, Valero and many others. The companies that WSPA represents account for the bulk of petroleum exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, according to the WSPA website, www.wspa.org
The Western States Petroleum Association is led by President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the former chair of the controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California.  
Because of this money and the power that Big Oil wields in California, the Jerry Brown administration  issued over 21,000 new oil and gas drilling permits in California. That include more than 200 permits for offshore wells in state waters -- wells within 3 miles of the California coast.
In addition, the state of California under Brown — and now under Gavin Newson - controls four times as many offshore oil wells in state waters as Trump’s federal government controls in California. You can view the map showing the location of wells here: http://brownvtrumpoilmap.org.
This money and power also allowed allowed the oil industry to write the controversial cap-and-trade (carbon trading) bill, AB 398, that Governor Brown signed in September 2017, as well as to twice defeat a bill to protect a South Coast marine protected area from offshore drilling.
Ironically, the same WSPA president that led the charge to defeat a bill to protect the Vandenberg State Marine Reserve from offshore oil drilling CHAIRED the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create “marine protected areas” on the South Coast.
Over the past decade, WSPA and Big Oil have topped the list of spenders on lobbying the Legislature in California. During the 2015-2016 Legislative Session, the oil industry spent a historic $36.1 million to lobby lawmakers and officials in California.  
WSPA and Big Oil wield their power in 6 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: (5) working in collaboration with media; and (6) contributing to non profit organizations.
For more information about WSPA and Big Oil, go to: California's Biggest Secret? How Big Oil Dominates Public Discourse to Manipulate and Deceive: https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/06/07/californias-biggest-secret-how-big-oil-dominates-public-discourse-to-manipulate-and-deceive/
Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2019. All right reserved.











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