Oil Drilling

Expanding California's Clean Economy

By Darrell Steinberg
State Senate President pro Tempore

We all know there is one, and only one immediate challenge confronting California – and that is the state budget.

As the Governor outlined in his State of the State message, the budget is and remains our top priority. We cannot recover the economic health of our state until we put our fiscal house in order as quickly as possible.

But we also must continue taking leadership in our ongoing effort to strengthen California’s economy by supporting emerging industries and creating jobs for Californians.  Our budget condition demands we do so in a manner both fiscally responsible and smart. The Democrats Clean Energy Jobs Initiative does exactly that.

Worst Governor Ever

By Robert Cruickshank

Arnold Schwarzenegger is packing up his office in the Capitol and finally, after 7 long years, leaving his post as governor of California. It comes not a moment too soon, as he has distinguished himself as the worst governor in California history by quite a wide margin. The Sacramento Bee's readers agreed there was one word that encapsulated his misrule: failure.

George Skelton has recognized that the recall of Governor Gray Davis in the fall of 2003, which brought Schwarzenegger to office, was a colossal mistake. John Myers of KQED offered a more in-depth assessment of Arnold's signature failure, his inability to fix the state's budget mess. And he leaves office with approval ratings at record lows - at or below the numbers Gray Davis had when he was recalled.

Open Letter to Jerry Brown: My Plan to Restore California Fisheries

By Dan Bacher

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has received awards for his "green" leadership from NRDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the "Beautiful Earth Group" and others in recent weeks in a carefully orchestrated campaign to greenwash his environmental legacy before he leaves office.

In spite of the claims of his collaborators, Schwarzenegger's true legacy is the unprecedented collapse of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, young striped bass, Sacramento splittail and other fish populations spurred by record water exports out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from 2004 to 2006.

Why Maureen Gorsen is Wrong: Prop 26 Will Undermine Environmental Regulation

By Rhead Enion

On Tuesday UCLA Law released an analysis of Proposition 26′s impacts on state funding for environmental and public health programs. On Wednesday, the Yes on 26 campaign struck back with a press release in which Maureen Gorsen suggested that we failed to understand Prop 26 and ignored facts.

(The Yes on 26 campaign has relied almost exclusively on Maureen Gorsen, now an attorney at Alston + Bird, for this type of legal analysis, probably because of her background as former director of California Department of Toxic Substances Control and former general counsel of CalEPA.)

In light of this ongoing controversy, I would like to examine some of Ms. Gorsen’s claims in more detail.

Texas Oil Price Gouging Behind Drive to Stop Greenhouse Gas Caps

By Jamie Court
Consumer Watchdog

When the eighth largest economy in the world establishes a landmark greenhouse gas emissions cap, you can bet oil companies are going to try to find a way to knock it down for one reason: money.

A new report shows the motivation behind one Texas oil giant's crusade against California's landmark greenhouse emissions law: big profits from price gouging of drivers.

The report by Consumer Watchdog's Oilwatchdog project shows Californians have endured higher gasoline prices than the rest of the nation while Texas-based Valero has averaged 37% higher margins on each barrel of oil it refined in California. The result -- $4.5 billion in profits.

Make a Mess, Clean It Up: The Case For AB 1405

By Rachel Morello-Frosch and Manuel Pastor

If a company makes a mess, it should be responsible for cleaning it up. And if that mess has long-term impacts on the economy, the environment and public health, then the company has a responsibility to invest in the recovery effort. It's the right -- and fair -- thing to do.

BP has made a big mess -- pollution that has negatively impacted tens of thousands of people for years to come. It's only fair that they make a long-term investment to help fix this problem.

Legislature Rejects Last Minute Plays to Side-Step Environmental Review

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

At midnight September 1st the gavel came down and the 2009-2010 legislative session came to a close.  While not all bills had the outcome we would have liked, we can happily say that thanks to the hard work of community groups around the state, we have made it through the year without a single bill exempting a project from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) from passing. This is a huge victory that could not have been achieved without the effort of a coalition over 150 (and growing!) environmental and justice groups, housing advocates, businesses and community leaders. 

CFC's November Ballot Recs: Corporate Interests vs. The Public Good

By Zack Kaldveer
Consumer Federation of California

The June defeat of Propositions 16 and 17 was welcomed news for Californians fed up with the use of the initiative process to advance narrow corporate interests. The lavish spending by PG&E ($46 million on Prop 16) and Mercury Insurance ($17 million on Prop 17) to increase their bottom lines at the public's expense only confirmed voters’ suspicions that greed was the real motivating factor behind those measures. Despite PG&E outspending opponents 575 to 1, and Mercury Insurance its opposition 12 to 1, a slim majority of voters saw through the pitch these snake oil salesmen were making, rejecting each by a margin of 4 to 5 points.

Unfortunately for California, June's election results have not served as the deterrent  some may have hoped. November brings a new crop of initiatives bankrolled by  some of our nation's most notorious polluters and corporate bad actors. Similarly, initiatives placed on the ballot to benefit the public will face the typical wall of opposition from big business interests willing to spend tens of millions of dollars on slick and deceptive campaigns with a singular purpose: mislead the voters.

Rove's 'Crossroads' Says California Senator Is In Its Texas Crosshairs

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

Just one day before a new survey release showed California's incumbent Democratic Senator, Barbara Boxer, holding a narrow, one point lead over her conservative opponent,  Carly Fiorina, a new Texas-based and funded group announced its plan to assist the Texas native and former Hewlett Packard CEO in her bid to unseat Boxer and restore Republican control of the US Senate.

The Karl Rove-linked conservative group, Crossroads GPS, an affiliate of Rove's American Crossroads, announced it will hit Los Angeles airwaves Wednesday with a $1 million dollar ad campaign attacking Boxer's support of Medicare cuts that were a part of President Obama's health-care overhaul, according to the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday

Schwarzenegger's MLPA Initiative: A Question of Bad Public Policy

By Dan Bacher

Proponents of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative constantly gush in generic terms how the controversial process is "open, transparent and inclusive." Anybody who criticizes any aspect of the privately funded initiative is blasted for being against "ocean protection."

However, what many critics of the MLPA Initiative are actually opposed to is the parody of marine protection that Schwarzenegger's initiative has become. Many supporters of comprehensive ocean protection point out that the intent of the law, signed by Governor Gray Davis in 1999, has been continually violated under a privately funded process filled with numerous conflicts of interest and violations of state, federal and international laws.