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Western States Petroleum Association & members have dumped $170 million into CA campaigns
by Dan Bacher
Wednesday Feb 14th, 2018 4:19 PM
“Chevron tops the list of political donors from WSPA’s membership, contributing $89 million overall since 2001, the first year in which online data is available,” Maplight reported. “Aera Energy has contributed the second most at roughly $40 million, and Valero is third at $13 million.
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The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying group in California, and its members have contributed $170 million to California political campaigns since 2001, according to a new data analysis from MapLight released on February 14.

WSPA is the trade association for oil industry interests in the western states of Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. WSPA members include multinational oil corporations such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Valero and the Plains All American Pipeline Company, the corporation responsible for the Refugio Beach Oil Spill of 2017. 

WSPA and its members have contributed more than $112 million to ballot measure campaigns, $8 million to state candidates, and $50 million to other California political action committees and party committees, according to the MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State compiled by Laura Curlin and Ashleigh McEvoy.

“Chevron tops the list of political donors from WSPA’s membership, contributing $89 million overall since 2001, the first year in which online data is available,” Maplight reported. “Aera Energy has contributed the second most at roughly $40 million, and Valero is third at $13 million.  

The report documents all of the California legislators who have received campaign contributions from the oil industry since 2001.

Senator Jean Fuller, the Kern County Republican from Senate District 16 who has served as the Legislature’s most fervent advocate for Big Oil, received the most oil industry contributions of any legislator, $88,890.

Senator Cathleen Galgiani, a Democrat from Senate District 5, received the second largest amount of oil industry contributions, $83,350.

Assemlymember Rudy Salas Jr., a Democrat from Assembly District 32, received the third largest amount of Big Oil money, $79,850. 

The top recipients of WSPA member money in the California Legislature are listed below:

(1) Jean Fuller, Republican, Senate District 16, $88,890

(2) Cathleen Galgiani, Senate District 5, Democrat $83,350

(3) Rudy Salas Jr., Assembly District 32, Democrat, $79,850

(4) Raul Bocanega, Assembly District 39, Democrat, $76,300

(5) Adam C. Gray, Assembly District 21, Democrat, $72,600

(6) Jim Cooper, Assembly District 9, Democrat, $71,650

(7) Sebastian M. Ridley-Thomas, Assembly District 54, Democrat, $70,800

(8) Chad Mays, Assembly District 42, Republican, $63,700

(9) Mike Gipson, Assembly District 64, Democrat, $62,650

(10) James L. Frazier Jr., Assembly District 11, Democrat, $58,176 

You can explore data on the campaign contributions from WSPA members - including contributions from each organization, top recipients serving in the California State Legislature, and contribution patterns over time by going to: maplight.org/… 

While the amount of money individual legislators have received from WSPA members is alarming, they pale in comparison to the $9.8 million from oil companies, gas companies and utilities that “climate leader” Governor Jerry Brown has received since he ran for his third term as governor, according to Consumer Watchdog. For more information on Governor Brown and his so-called "green" policies, see: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2017-09/how_green_is_brown.pdf

In addition to pouring millions into campaigns, WSPA “augments its political influence with a massive lobbying presence in Sacramento,” topping the list of lobbyist spending in California in the third quarter of 2017, according to Maplight.

Big Oil dominated three out of the four top spots of expenditures by all lobbying organizations in 2017, according to documents from the California Secretary of State’s Office that I analyzed.

Outspending all of their competition, Chevron placed first with $8.2 million and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the trade association for the oil industry in the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, placed second  $6.2 million. Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company finished fourth with $3.2 million. You can find the information on spending by employers of lobbyists here: cal-access.sos.ca.gov/…

That’s a total of $17.6 million dumped into lobbying by the three top oil industry lobbying organizations alone. That figure exceeds the $14,577,314 expended by all 16 oil lobby organizations in 2016. 

Big Oil has become so powerful in California, in spite of the state’s largely undeserved “green” image, that every bill except one opposed by the oil industry has failed to make it out of the legislature over the past three years.

But WSPA and Big Oil wield their money and power not just through spending millions of dollars on lobbying and political campaigns. They also create Astroturf groups, work in collaboration with the media, and get appointed to positions on and influence key regulatory panels. 

For example, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas in Southern California from 2009 to 2012. She also served on the task forces to create “marine protected areas” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast from 2004 to 2012. Information: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mpa/brtf_bios_sc.asp 

As Reheis-Boyd was overseeing the crafting of California’s “marine protected areas,” 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 “marine protected areas” created under the privately funded MLPA Initiative fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore drilling, pollution, military testing and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering. Yet state officials and corporate environmental NGO representatives praised the process overseen by Reheis-Boyd and other corporate interests as “open, transparent and inclusive,” though it was anything but.

There is no doubt that Big Oil has captured the regulatory apparatus from top to bottom in California — and we must curb and overcome the power of the oil and gas corporations in California to protect the public trust. For more information about the grassroots campaign to get oil money out of California politics, go to: https://www.oilmoneyout.com

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Jeremy Nicic
Friday Feb 16th, 2018 11:06 AM
I'm not sure what the point of this article is. One can easily go to OpenSecrets.org and look up the top 10 contributors by industry for each election year. The oil industry did not place in the top 10 in any of the election years going back to 2000. The industries below did make that list in at least one election year, and many of these appeared in the majority of election years.

Business Services
Casinos/Gambling
Democratic/Liberal
Education
Electronics Mfg & Equip
Environment
Health Professionals
Homemakers/Non-income earners
Internet
Lawyers/Law Firms
Leadership PACs
Misc Finance
Non-Profit Institutions
Real Estate
Retired
Securities & Investment
Telecom Services
TV/Movies/Music

By way of comparison to the oil industry's $170 million, the TV/Movies/Music industry contributed $384 million, securities & investment contributed $234 million, real estate $166 million, and interests supporting retired people contributed $280 million.

What am I to conclude from your article?
1. Large political donations are fine as long as that industry is not out of ideological alignment with the journalist.
2. The state of California is also controlled, and sometimes even more so, by perhaps 15-20 other industries who contributed more over the same time frame.
3. The journalist is not interested in an in depth understanding of the overall landscape of political contributions in the state; his lack of criticism directed at other industries shows that his purpose is simply to bring attention to an industry that they don't like.

The simplistic model is that industry A controls a state as a function of its large contributions. Other industries who also contribute, and the impact of those contributions, are not considered. If the oil industry controls the state by donating $170 mm, what are we to make of the environmental industry's $154 million in contributions in the last two election years alone? One might reasonably ask whether the environmental industry also controls the state. The author appears to be saying that the environmental industry is just wasting money on a state controlled by other interests.

If the oil industry controls the state, then where are the new offshore oil rigs? Do you think it would be easier to permit a solar array or a new refinery?
by Unity Jack for Mother Earth
Friday Feb 16th, 2018 12:45 PM
Since the later part of the eighties of last century when the ppm reached 350 maximum CO2 allowable before damages start happening throughout the world, the point that oil companies monopoly of fossil fuels is now causing continuous series of catastrophic events world wide. What Dan Bacher is correctly pointing out is the source of the destruction of the planets ecological balances of the organic and inorganic webs-of-life is fossil fuel dependence of every country throughout the world. This is further agrivated by aggressive wars by the words' militaries which are all using coal, gas, oil and nuclear fission atomic power pollution globally. Dan Bacher is noting all this terrific destrution of California aquofers, rivers, lakes and the Oceans on the Cailifornia coastline. Fish are disappearing, birds wildlife such as sand hill cranes are being endangered, and even monarch butterflies are disapearing at alarming rates. Droughts, high winds and temperatures are burning out more and more forests, wildlife, and communities worldwide.

This while Trump is upgrading the degading WMD--preparing for a world war against the peoples republic of China, Russian Federation, Iran, and reducing to rubble independent democratic governments such as Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, and spending more and more of the public treasury for weapons of mass destruction running the environment to unlivable levels of temperatures which bombs make even worse. That is the point that Dan Bacher shows as source Oil Monopolies of the world buying out bourgeois politicians along the way.

Scientists have reported that over forty per cent of the oxygen has been burned out already and it the present society continues to rely only on fossil fuels, the atmosphere might indeed reach a point of no return of oxygen. Faster and more burn-out will not improve the atmosphere but only futher threaten entire life of the planet.

You yet have a world to win! Voila! Elect women equall doubling democracy in Canada and America. Egallite' pour la femme dans la revolution! Workers of the world unite!!
by Steven Long
Friday Feb 16th, 2018 1:15 PM
Unity Jack, you said that "Scientists have reported that over forty per cent of the oxygen has been burned out already and it the present society continues to rely only on fossil fuels, the atmosphere might indeed reach a point of no return of oxygen."

Here is an excerpt from a Princeton study published on the LiveScience site
https://www.livescience.com/56219-earth-atmospheric-oxygen-levels-declining.html

-----------------------------------------------------

Atmospheric oxygen levels have declined over the past 1 million years, although not nearly enough to trigger any major problems for life on Earth, a new study finds.

The research behind this new finding could help shed light on what controls atmospheric oxygen levels over long spans of time, the researchers said.

Atmospheric oxygen levels are fundamentally linked to the evolution of life on Earth, as well as changes in geochemical cycles related to climate variations. As such, scientists have long sought to reconstruct how atmospheric oxygen levels fluctuated in the past, and what might control these shifts.

However, models of past atmospheric oxygen levels often markedly disagree, differing by as much as about 20 percent of Earth's atmosphere, which is oxygen's present-day concentration, the researchers said. 1 It is not even known if atmospheric oxygen levels varied or remained steady over the past 1 million years.

"There was no consensus on whether the oxygen cycle before humankind began burning fossil fuels was in or out of balance and, if so, whether it was increasing or decreasing," said study lead author Daniel Stolper, a geochemistat Princeton University in New Jersey.

In the new study, researchers calculated past atmospheric oxygen levels by looking at air trapped inside ancient polar ice samples. Specifically, they looked at samples from Greenland and Antarctica.

The new estimates suggest that atmospheric oxygen levels have fallen by 0.7 percent over the past 800,000 years. The scientists concluded that oxygen sinks — processes that removed oxygen from the air — were about 1.7 percent larger than oxygen sources during this time.

Although a drop in atmospheric oxygen levels might sound alarming, the decrease the researchers found "is trivial in regard to ecosystems."

---------------------------------------
There is plenty of evidence that fossil fuel consumption is adding CO2 to the atmosphere, elevating temperatures, and raising global sea level. There is no evidence that oxygen levels have depleted by 40% as you claim, whether caused by fossil fuel combustion or not.

by Dan Bacher
Friday Feb 16th, 2018 6:01 PM
Jeremy

First, you apparently know little about Big Oil money and influence in California. It is matter of oil industry statements filed with the California Secretary of State that reveal that Big Oil is the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in California - and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying organization in California.

Big Oil leads the lobbying expenses in California every year. There is no debate over this. Again, these expenses are documented in the financial statements filed by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), Chevron, Tesoro and other oil industry interests with the California Secretary of State.

In 2017, Big Oil dominated three out of the four top spots of expenditures by all lobbying organizations.

Outspending all of their competition, Chevron placed first with $8.2 million and the Western States Petroleum Association, the trade association for the oil industry in the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, spent  $6.2 million. Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company finished fourth with $3.2 million. You can find the information on spending by employers of lobbyists here: cal-access.sos.ca.gov/...

That’s a total of $17.6 million dumped into lobbying by the three top oil industry lobbying organizations alone. That figure exceeds the $14,577,314 expended by all 16 oil lobby organizations in 2016. 

Big Oil’s big coup last year was its writing of Jerry Brown’s “cap-and-trade” (pollution trading) bill, AB 398, “so full of loopholes that it remains cheaper for companies to pay chump change to pollute than invest real money into reducing carbon emissions,” according to Liza Tucker of Consumer Watchdog. 

Also last year, Chevron, WSPA, Tesoro and other oil industry interests were able 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.

The Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, held the bill in suspension during their hearing on Friday, September 1, 2017.  

The California Oil Lobby was also the biggest spender in the 2015-16 legislative session, spending an amazing $36.1 million on lobbying over the two-year period. Big Oil spending last session amounted to $1.5 million per month — nearly $50,000 per day.

In addition, Jerry Brown has received over $9.8 million from oil companies, gas companies and utilities since he ran for his third term as governor, according to Consumer Watchdog. For more information on Governor Brown and his so-called "green" policies, see: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2017-09/how_green_is_brown.pdf

Second, it's a fact that Governor Jerry Brown has already done in state waters what Trump wants to do in federal waters — expand offshore oil drilling. That’s right — Brown’s regulators have approved 238 NEW offshore oil wells in state waters under existing leases, an increase of 17 percent since 2012, according to analysis by the nonprofit FracTracker Alliance.

According to the Fracktracker Alliance:

"FracTracker Alliance reviewed the data published by DOGGR on permitted offshore wells. (DOGGR refers to the Division of Oil, Gas, & Geothermal Resources, which regulates drilling in CA). Using API identification numbers as a timeline, we actually find that it is likely that 238 wells have been drilled offshore since the start of 2012. The DOGGR database only lists “spud” (drilling) and completion dates for 71 – a mere 1.3% of the 5,435 total offshore wells. DOGGR reports that 1,366 offshore wells are currently active production wells. It must be noted that these numbers are only estimations, since operators have a 2-year window to drill wells after receiving a permit and API number.

Using these methods of deduction, we find that since the beginning of 2012 the majority of offshore wells have been drilled offshore of Los Angeles County in the Wilmington Oil Field (204 in total); followed by 25 offshore in the Huntington Beach field; 7 in the West Montalvo field offshore of Ventura County, and 1 in the Belmont field, also offshore of Ventura County. Additionally, the Center for Biological Diversity reports that at least 200 of the wells off California’s coast have been hydraulically fractured."  

The FracTacker Alliance report is available here: https://www.fractracker.org/2017/02/more-offshore-drilling-ca/  

Again, no other organization has spent more money than the oil industry in its spending on lobbying California officials than the oil industry. There is nobody, including the oil industry itself, that could possibly dispute this. The financial data speaks for itself.

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