Big Oil lobbyist lauds results of carbon trading auction

By Dan Bacher | August 26, 2017 |

If anybody had any illusions that the passage of Governor Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade bill, AB 398, was good for the environment, one only has to read the statement issued by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), on August 23 praising the results of the state's carbon auction:

“Today’s successful carbon auction quarterly results prove that reforming and extending California’s cap-and-trade program was the right thing to do. The passage of AB398 has reinforced carbon market certainty, helping the industry compete in the world’s most stringent regulatory environment.”

Oil and gas companies, utilities and other corporations spent a total of $935 million to buy greenhouse gas pollution permits. State officials said the auction was sold out.

You can read the California Air Resources Control Board (CARB) report on the auction here:

WSPA, the trade association for the oil industry in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, is the most powerful corporate lobbying group in California — and historically has spent more money annually than any other organization on lobbying the legislature and state officials.  

After AB 398 passed through the legislature last month, Reheis-Boyd predictably lauded the legislation in a statement.

“The bipartisan cap-and trade package passed this week is the best, most balanced way for California to comply with state law requiring reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” said Reheis-Boyd.
She also claimed, “This significantly reformed cap-and-trade program presents the best available path forward for our industry in the toughest regulatory environment in the world.”

Her full statement is available here:

Reheis-Boyd failed to mention that the  legislation was based on a WSPA and Chevron wish list that gives loopholes and tax breaks to corporate polluters that could actually result in more, not less, emissions.

She also failed to mention that Big Oil spent over $10.8 million in lobbying in the second quarter of 2017 to ramrod the bill, opposed by over 65 environmental justice, conservation and consumer groups, through the Legislature.

Governor Brown claimed that carbon trading bill deal resulted from "mystery, miracle and prayer,” according to a video on the Sacramento Bee website:

However, the lobbying spending figures released on the California Secretary of State’s website reveal an entirely different story — and “mystery, miracle and prayer” have nothing to do with it.  The San Ramon-based Chevron and subsidiaries topped all other lobbyists in the state with $6,153,952 spent, followed by the Sacramento-based WSPA with $2,528,751 and the San Antonio-based Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co. LLC with $2,193.489. 

In a classic example of the “fox guarding the hen house,” WSPA President Reheis-Boyd served as a state regulatory official from 2004 to 2012, a conflict of interest that the media and many NGOs are reluctant to discuss.

As I have mentioned in many articles, Reheis-Boyd chaired the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California. She also served on the task forces to create “marine protected areas” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.

The “marine protected areas” created under the helm of the WSPA president and other corporate operatives fail to protect the ocean from offshore oil drilling, fracking, oil spills, pollution, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering. 

In another apparent conflict of interest, Reheis-Boyd’s husband, James D. Boyd, sat on on the California Energy Commission from 2002 to 2012, including serving as Vice-Chair of the Commission from 2/2007 to 1/2012.   

The enormous power that Big Oil exerts over California regulators was inadvertently revealed in a March 10, 2012 article in the Santa Barbara Independent that discussed a “marine protected area” created under Reheis-Boyd’s leadership.

The official language for the marine protected area in the Isla Vista area of Santa Barbara County, the Campus Point State Marine Conservation Area, reads, “Take of all living marine resources is prohibited, except for take pursuant to operation and maintenance of artificial structures inside the conservation area … ”

“The caveat, allowing marine resources to be taken near artificial structures, exists to allow oil production representatives the ability to maintain equipment, including pipelines, located in this area,” the article by Cat Heushul stated.   

Background: Big Oil spent $36.1 million lobbying in 2015-16 session

The California Oil Lobby was the biggest spender in the 2015-16 legislative session, spending an amazing $36.1 million on lobbying over the two-year period. Based on the oil industry lobbying last quarter alone, it looks like the industry may set a new spending record this session.

Big Oil spending last session amounted to $1.5 million per month — nearly $50,000 per day. The $36.1 million surpassed the $34 million spent in the prior session, according to an American Lung Association report. To read the complete report, go to:

WSPA was the top overall oil industry spender during the 2015-16 session, spending $18.7 million. As is normally the case, WSPA ranked #1 among all lobbying spenders last session. In the seventh quarter alone, WSPA dumped $2.6 million into lobbying legislators and state officials.

Chevron, the second overall oil industry spender, spent $7 million in the 2015-16 session. It spent $3 million in 2016 alone, sixth among all lobbyists in the session.

Since the 2007-08 Session, the oil industry has spent over $146 million in lobbying in California when you include the figures for the first two quarters of 2017.

WSPA and Big Oil use their money and power in 5 ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) creating Astroturf groups: 4) working in collaboration with media; and (5) getting appointed to positions on and influencing regulatory panels.

For more information, go to…   

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