Oil Drilling

A Lame Duck Governor Fabricates A Hoped-For Legacy

By Sheila Kuel

After more than six years of carving up and flushing what used to be referred to as the California Dream, the Governor has looked around at the wreckage and decided to float the story that it wasn't his doing.  Many have obediently picked up the narrative and amplified it through the press and online. The story, as set out, for instance, in the New York Times, goes: the Governor is a real independent, neither a rabid left-wing Democrat nor a salivating Tea Partier and, therefore, no one loves him any more.

Somehow, even as he stands in the rubble of California, Arnold has spun this to be a good thing, when, instead, he is an embodiment of what Texas gadfly Jim Hightower meant when he said, "There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos."

The Numbers Tell The Story

By Dr. Ami Bera
Candidate for Congress, District 3

182,000,000 gallons. That’s how much oil scientists estimate spewed into the Gulf during the BP catastrophe. It’s enough oil to cover San Francisco, Oakland and Berkley.

The oil is visible from space. It covers 400 miles of coastline across two states. It’s permeated fragile marsh ecosystems. The initial explosion killed 11 workers.

$82,000. That’s the amount of money my opponent, Congressman Lungren, has taken in campaign contributions from oil companies. Money from Chevron, from Exxon, and yes, even from BP.

$2.6 billion. That’s the amount of money Lungren voted to give Big Oil in tax breaks.

In Big Shift, Californians Oppose Offshore Oil Drilling

By Public Policy Institute of California

Three months after a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Californians’ support for more drilling off their coast has plunged, according to a survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). A solid majority of the state’s residents now oppose more offshore drilling (59% oppose, 36% favor)—a 16-point increase in opposition from last year (43% oppose, 51% favor). The PPIC survey was conducted with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and is the 10th in a series about Californians and the environment.

In contrast to the shift in opinion on drilling, Californians’ views on another contentious environmental policy issue have held steady since last year. Two-thirds (67% today, 66% in 2009) favor the state law (AB 32) that requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Time For Big Oil To Do Its Part for California

By Marlene Allen

Last week I joined hundreds of other Californians -- college students, school employees, social workers and other community members in a march to Occidental Petroleum’s offices in Los Angeles. We carried a simple message: closing a $1.2 billion tax loophole that giant oil companies take advantage of each year could save our schools and vital social services from deeper cuts. 

Rebuilding California requires everyone to do their part, and working families have already sacrificed so much in this economic recession. Now it’s time for Big Oil to do its share. We’re calling on California leaders to close the oil pumping loophole.

Oil Companies Paying Fair Share is Part of Responsible, Balanced Budget Plan

By Assemblymember Pedro Nava

SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly address, Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) discusses how implementing the same type of oil severance fee found in every other oil-producing state can help protect the jobs of 430,000 teachers, cops and small business owners as California moves to close the budget deficit.

Anybody Up There Care About The Schools?

By Peter Schrag

The milestones keep rushing by in California’s race to the educational bottom.

Last Monday, a group of students and parents, joined by a coalition of civil rights organizations filed the second major lawsuit in recent weeks charging the state with failing to meet its constitutional and moral obligations to provide quality education to its six million K-12 students.

Two days later, perhaps not coincidentally, the California Budget Project published a report headed “California’s Support for Schools Lags the Nation.” It was full of depressingly familiar numbers: California is near the bottom among the states in school spending per pupil; dead last in school spending as a percentage of personal income; last in teachers per students; ditto for counselors, librarians and administrators.

175 Million Gallons Later, Progress in Stopping Flow of Oil

By Ryan Scholl

After 87 days, the latest reports are that BP may finally have stopped the flow of oil from its Deepwater Horizon well. Although tests showing that the cap is working are positive, work continues on drilling two relief wells that will permanently plug the gusher.

Over the last long 12 weeks, the government estimates that approximately 175 million gallons of oil have flooded into the Gulf of Mexico. That is roughly equivalent to 16 Exxon Valdez spills, making it many times over the largest oil spill in national history and perhaps the worst environmental crisis we’ve ever confronted. It is hard to understate the scale of environmental destruction the Gulf will continue to experience for months and probably years to come.

CalPERS Working to Upend BP’s Board

By David Dayen

Giant public pension funds like CalPERS, the California public employees fund, frequently become major stockholders in public corporations, and can use that power and influence to make changes to corporate structures. We haven’t seen a ton of activism from funds like this in recent years. But that could be changing. Witness this upcoming meeting between CalPERS and BP:

Anger at BP PLC’s handling of the Gulf oil spill is prompting one of its largest U.S. shareholders to call for changes on the company’s board.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the biggest U.S. public pension fund, is conferring with BP officials next Wednesday amid criticism from some institutional investors that the board’s response to the spill has been too passive.

Oil and Gas Activities in the Gulf of Mexico Cause Harm to Marine Mammals

By Zak Smith
Natural Resources Defense Council
As we continue to hear more about animals trapped in the toxic sludge that is the BP oil disaster fall out in the Gulf, NRDC joined a coalition in suing the renamed Minerals Management Service (MMS) – it now styles itself the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (as if rebranding will solve the agency’s problems) – for its failure to comply with our nation’s bedrock environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), when permitting seismic exploration for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico.
Thousands of endangered animals live in the Gulf and are subjected to harassment and injury by seismic exploration in the form of air gun explosions as oil and gas exploration companies search for black gold at the bottom of the Gulf.

California Crossroads

By Annie Notthoff

The fight to protect California’s environment entered a new round yesterday when Secretary of State Deborah Bowen announced that the backers of the initiative to repeal our landmark law to combat global warming, AB 32, had qualified their dirty energy proposition for the November ballot. And we, along with a big coalition are ready to fight and defeat their sneaky initiative. 

Yesterday in San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom and local environmental leaders lambasted this deceptive initiative that would roll back AB 32 which has put California on the cutting edge of the 21 Century’s emerging green economy, clean tech research, and the development of carbon-neutral fuel sources.