WSPA, Chevron Spent $3.4 Million to Promote Big Oil Agenda in 2017's Third Quarter

By Dan Bacher | November 3, 2017 |

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, spent $2,290,408.89 in the third quarter of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session to promote Big Oil’s agenda in California, topping all over organizations in lobbying expenses. 

Chevron dished out the second largest amount of any organization, with $1.1 million spent last quarter.

The third biggest spender during the quarter was the California State Council of Service Employees with $870,675 spent, while the fourth largest was the California Chamber of Commerce with $769,919 in lobbying expenses. 

Trade associations like WSPA, corporations, unions and other organizations spent a total of $86.2 million lobbying state officials from July l through September 30.

You can find the lobbying expenses on the Secretary of State’s website:… and a summary in this LA Times article:

WSPA and Chevron used their millions to push through Governor Jerry Brown’s cap and trade legislation, AB 398, a bill that was based on a WSPA and Chevron “wish list,” according to environmental justice and conservation groups that opposed the legislation.

While Governor Brown and legislators touted the bill’s passage as a  “historic climate victory,” over 65 environmental justice, conservation and public interest organizations slammed the bill because of the devastating impact they said it will have on front line communities, the people of California and our air and water. 

Adam Scow, California Director of Food & Water Watch, revealed why the oil industry was so intent on getting AB 398 passed; it gives loopholes and tax breaks to corporate polluters that could actually result in more, not less, emissions.

“The bill, heavily influenced by the oil and gas industry, makes California’s flawed cap-and-trade system worse by allowing excessive allowances to pollute and preventing local regulation of greenhouse gases,” said Scow. “The climate crisis demands that the State regulate and reduce pollution quickly, but this bill gives polluters loopholes and tax breaks that could result in increased emissions. California’s cap-and-trade system cannot be considered a model for any state or nation that takes the climate crisis seriously.”

WSPA and Chevron also used the money to defeat Senate Bill 188, a bill authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to prohibit new pipelines or other infrastructure needed to support new federal oil and gas development.  

Senate Bill 188, jointly authored by Senate Leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would protect the California coast by “prohibiting the State Lands Commission from approving any new leases for pipelines, piers, wharves, or other infrastructure needed to support new federal oil and gas development in the three mile area off the coast that is controlled by the state.”

Senator Jackson introduced SB 188 in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order opening the door to expanded offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the California coast. 

The defeat of that bill is a big victory for the oil industry and the Trump administration. The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the California Independent Petroleum Association, the California Chamber of Commerce and California Manufacturers & Technology Association spent big money lobbying to defeat the legislation.

In spite of California’s reputation as the nation’s “green leader,” Big Oil is the most powerful lobby in Sacramento and the Western States Petroleum Association is the most powerful lobbying organization. Every bill except one opposed by the oil industry failed to make it out of the legislature in the 2015-2006 session and the 2017-2018 session so far.

Big Oil spent over $10.8 million in lobbying in the second quarter of 2017 to pass AB 398 through the legislature, as well as to lobby against SB 188.

The San Ramon-based Chevron and subsidiaries topped all other lobbyists in the state in the second quarter with $6,153,952 spent, followed by WSPA with $2,528,751 and the San Antonio-based Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co. LLC with $2,193.489. 

In the first quarter of 2017, WSPA spent $1,387,601.97 to lobby legislators and state officials, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office.

WSPA is led by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the WSPA President and the former chair of the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create faux “marine protected areas” in Southern California. Not surprisingly, Reheis-Boyd has opposed every effort to protect the coast from offshore drilling and make California’s fake “marine protected areas” into real ones.

Yet corporate environmental NGO representatives and state officials to this day still characterize the controversial process that Reheis-Boyd led as “open, transparent and inclusive” and greenwash the so-called “marine protected areas” that she oversaw the creation of.

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 over the past two quarters, 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.

The only bill opposed by the oil industry that made it out of the legislature to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown was Senate Bill 32, legislation that reduces greenhouse gas level to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The reason for the bill’s passage was because billionaire Tom Steyer’s Next Generation Climate Action spent  $7.3 million lobbying for the bill in the seventh quarter of 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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