Credo Action

Tell California candidates and elected officials: Stop taking oil money

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The petition to California elected officials and candidates reads:

Stop taking money from the oil industry and prioritize public health and well-being over oil industry profits.

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    Tell California candidates and elected officials: Stop taking oil money

    Californians are more than ready to tackle climate change, but our state politicians keep failing to pass the ambitious laws we need to get off of fossil fuels. Every time Californians push our lawmakers to act on climate, oil and gas lobbyists swoop in to water down legislation or kill it off entirely.

    Just this year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a compromised and deeply flawed "cap and trade" climate bill that was partially written by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) – the most powerful special-interest group in the state.1

    Our elected representatives must start acting in the best interests of our state, not Big Oil – but that won’t happen unless we demand it.

    Tell California elected officials and political candidates: Stop taking money from Big Oil.

    The coziness between the oil industry and California politicians is infamous. Over the past six years, the industry has spent $122 million influencing California politics, more than any other trade group.2 When the legislature was considering a fracking ban in 2013, WSPA took 12 swing-vote legislators out for a lobster dinner – with a $13,000 tab.3 A transformed fracking law passed a week later, not only with no fracking ban, but with new amendments to make a ban even less likely in the future.4

    There are countless examples of the oil industry trading in its campaign contributions for lax regulations. Oil companies blocked a ban on using toxic oil wastewater in California's crop irrigation.5 They have drilled thousands of oil wells into supposedly protected aquifers.6 In 2015, the largest methane gas leak in U.S. history forced thousands in the San Fernando Valley to evacuate.7

    Even after a Central Valley oil field worker died when he was "sucked feet first into a burbling cauldron of fluids and poison gas" in 2011, oil companies successfully pressured state officials to allow them to continue business as usual.8 Despite a federal order to start cracking down, Gov. Brown demanded that state regulators ignore the order and fast-track permits for oil projects. When two state regulators refused, he fired them.9

    We cannot allow oil companies to continue calling the shots in California. State officials must cut their ties to dirty oil money now. We need champions looking out for our communities, not for the profits of the oil industry. Until the flow of money into our democracy and the control of lobbyists is seriously curtailed, nothing is going to change.

    Tell California political candidates: Stop taking money from Big Oil.

    References:

    1. Kate Aronoff, "California Gov. Jerry Brown Is Backing a Climate Bill Full of Giveaways to Polluters," In These Times, July 14, 2017.
    2. Michael J. Mishak, "Big Oil’s grip on California," The Center for Public Integrity, Feb. 13, 2017.
    3. Dan Bacher, "Sacramento: a capital awash in oil money," Counterpunch, Nov. 8, 2013.
    4. Mishak, "Big Oil’s grip on California."
    5. Larry Buhl, Oil and gas lobby fights California regulators to keep injecting drilling wastewater into protected aquifers," Desmog Blog, March 3, 2017.
    6. Mishak, "Big Oil’s grip on California."
    7. Ibid.
    8. Ibid.
    9. Ibid.