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Related Categories: California | Central Valley | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections
Jerry Brown condemns Trump's lowering of fuel standards, but expands oil drilling
by Dan Bacher
Friday Aug 3rd, 2018 11:28 AM
California has prohibited new offshore leases since 1984, but has allowed the expansion of oil drilling in existing leases. Brown has the power as Governor to close down all existing leases and wells through executive action, but he has instead furthered Big Oil’s agenda by presiding over the expansion of offshore drilling in state waters.
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SACRAMENTO – California Governor Jerry Brown yesterday condemned the Trump Administration’s proposal to weaken the nation’s clean vehicle emissions standard at the same time that California regulators have approved an expansion of offshore and onshore drilling in California.

“For Trump to now destroy a law first enacted at the request of Ronald Reagan five decades ago is a betrayal and an assault on the health of Americans everywhere,” said Brown in a statement. “Under his reckless scheme, motorists will pay more at the pump, get worse gas mileage and breathe dirtier air. California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible.”

Trump released his proposal even though U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s own analysis shows the national clean car standard “benefits all consumers by reducing fuel costs and the environment by reducing greenhouse gas pollution,” according to the Governor’s Office.

In May, Governor Brown announced that California is leading an 18-jurisdiction coalition – representing approximately 43 percent of the U.S. automobile market and 140 million people – to sue the U.S. EPA to preserve the nation’s single vehicle emission standard. In 2017, Governor Brown wrote a letter to the U.S. EPA Administrator to defend the existing emission standard.

In response to the Trump administration’s plan to roll back auto efficiency standards and attack California’s ability to implement stricter standards, David Turnbull, Strategic Communications Director at Oil Change International, released a statement supporting Governor Brown’s condemnation of the administration's proposal while at the same time urging Brown, who has presided over an expansion of offshore and onshore oil drilling in California, to “ramp down” fossil fuel production:

“We stand firmly with Governor Brown, Chairwoman Nichols, and all of those resisting the Trump administration’s dangerous rollback of critical fuel economy standards that not only reduce the demand for oil but protect communities from local pollutants as well If we want to stave off the very worst impacts of our climate crisis, we need to move as quickly as possible away from fossil fuels. That means cutting both our collective demand for oil, gas, and coal as well as reducing the supply of fossil fuels that helps to drive that demand.

“At the same time, the actions today by the Trump administration show just how critical it is for leaders like Governor Brown to act to ramp down fossil fuel production where they can. As the state deals with the ravages of intense fires supercharged by climate change, the imperative to use all the tools available to us to address the climate crisis couldn’t be more clear. Those tools must include action to ramp down fossil fuel production in a managed and just way that aligns with our climate imperatives and protects our communities.

“Governor Brown has an opportunity to show what truly transformational climate leadership looks like by not only staunchly defending California’s existing policies, but by going further and setting a global precedent by embarking California on a just and managed decline of its oil and gas production.”

While Brown says he opposes the Trump administration’s plan to open new offshore drilling leases in federal waters, the Governor’s oil and gas regulators have approved 238 new offshore oil wells in state waters under existing leases off Los Angeles and Ventura counties from 2012 to 2016. That’s an increase of 17 percent, according to data released in a report issued by Fractracker Alliance in February 2017. To read the complete report, go to: http://www.fractracker.org/…(

On June 20, Consumer Watchdog launched a web site that allows you to compare California offshore wells under the control of Governor Jerry Brown and President Donald Trump. The numbers are stunning.

“Brown has called Trump’s federal offshore oil drilling short-sighed and reckless, but the site — http://www.BrownvTrumpOilMap.com— shows Brown controls four times more oil wells in state waters than those Trump controls in federal waters,” according to Liza Tucker, consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog.

Offshore wells in state waters controlled by the Brown Administration total 5460, versus 1429 offshore wells in federal waters, those three nautical miles or more off California’s coast controlled by the Trump administration, according to Consumer Watchdog.

Of the state wells, 2028 are active; 1336 are production wells, while the rest are support wells like wastewater disposal and water flood/steam flood/observation, etc, according to Kyle Ferrar of the Fractracker Alliance. The federal offshore wells include 702 wells listed as active.

800 public interest groups from California and around the world, including Consumer Watchdog and the FracTracker Alliance, in April kicked off a campaign urging Governor Brown to stop the build-out of dirty fossil fuel infrastructure, keep oil and gas in the ground, and take immediate action to protect those most vulnerable to climate change as Brown gets ready for the global climate action summit that he will host September 12-14, 2018, in San Francisco. Read their letter to Brown and about the campaign at http://www.brownslastchance.org.

California has prohibited new offshore leases since 1984, but has allowed the expansion of oil drilling in existing leases. Brown has the power as Governor to close down all existing leases and wells through executive action, but he has instead furthered Big Oil’s agenda by presiding over the expansion of offshore drilling in state waters.

This failure of the state’s regulators to comprehensively protect the ocean from offshore drilling is exposed by the expansion of oil drilling in Southern California waters that began in January 2012 after a network of so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California waters was created under the helm of a Big Oil lobbyist.

In one of the many conflicts of interests that proliferate among California regulators, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create “marine protected areas” in Southern California from 2009 to 2012. Reheis-Boyd also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast from 2004 to 2012.

While Governor Jerry Brown receives accolades for his frequent speeches at climate conferences around the world, he is in reality a recipient of millions of dollars of Big Oil and Big Gas money that has promoted the expansion of offshore and onshore drilling in California in his third and fourth terms as Governor.

Consumer Watchdog's report, "Brown's Dirty Hands," reveals how Brown and his top appointees used the California Democratic Party (CDP) as a “slush fund, sucking in contributions from unpopular energy companies in close proximity, and sometimes on the same day, that his Administration helped those companies in controversial ways.”

“Twenty-six energy companies including Occidental, Chevron, NRG and the state's three major investor-owned utilities - all with business before the state - donated $9.8 million to Jerry Brown's campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since he ran for Governor. Donations were often made within days or weeks of winning favors. The three major investor-owned utilities alone contributed nearly $6 million,” according to the report. “Between 2011 and 2014, the energy companies tracked by Brown's Dirty Hands donated $4.4 million to the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party gave $4.7 million to Brown's re-election committee.”

Since Consumer Watchdog’s report was released in 2016, both the California Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have adopted bans on fossil fuel donations: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

However, the oil industry, the most powerful corporate lobby in California, continues to spend many millions of dollars on lobbying each Legislative Session and on political campaigns each election season. For more information, go to: http://www.dailykos.com/...