Oil Drilling

California’s Great Recession and the Costs of War

By Zack Kaldveer
Consumer Federation of California

California is on life support. Families are reeling from the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. The state’s social safety net - and the life sustaining services it provides - is needed now more than ever. But due to massive and ongoing budget deficits, rather than strengthening programs that are in such high demand – from health care to education to assistance to the poor – we are dismantling them. 

To adequately and humanely address the economic pain felt by too many Californians and prevent the recession from deepening, new revenues are desperately needed. One proposal that hasn’t received deserved attention, but critical to our long-term economic health, is ending the War in Afghanistan and bringing the troops, and the billions in military funding, home.

Californians Know Better

By Annie Notthoff
Natural Resources Defense Council

A bunch of the dirtiest oil refiners from Texas are trying to derail landmark California legislation that will cut greenhouse gas pollution and jumpstart the state’s emerging green economy.

The cabal, led by Texas-based Valero Energy Corp., Tesoro Corp., Tower Energy Group and World Oil Corp, is spending millions of dollars to pay professional signature gatherers to circulate petitions to qualify the “California Jobs Initiative” for the November ballot. They’ve already upped the payment to $2 per name – more than 4 times the going rate. That just shows how unpopular their dirty energy proposition is and how determined the polluters are to pay whatever it costs to get it on the ballot.

California Deserves Credit for Helping Show the Way to White House’s Historic Vehicle Standards

By Dan Kalb
Union of Concerned Scientists

The Obama White House today finalized new clean car rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (NHTSA), securing the largest boost in fuel economy in decades and, for the first time, using the Clean Air Act to require reductions in the amount of heat-trapping emissions from cars and light trucks.
"To paraphrase the vice president, this is a really big deal," said Jim Kliesch, a senior engineer in the Union of Concerned Scientists' Clean Vehicles Program. "Because of these standards, Americans will drive vehicles that save them money at the pump, cut the country's oil dependence, and produce a lot less global warming pollution."  

Texas Oil Companies and Biased Studies vs. California's Future

By Robert Cruickshank

As reported by Capitol Alert yesterday, Valero has donated $500,000 to the effort to suspend AB 32 and force California to stop doing anything about global warming:

Valero Services Inc. donated $500,000 to fuel a signature-gathering drive aimed at qualifying an initiative for the November ballot to suspend Assembly Bill 32, signed into law several years ago.

Much of the remaining $466,000 also has been donated by oil companies, documents show....

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association contributed $100,000 to the effort, as well as three other oil companies - Tesoro Cos., Tower Energy Group and World Oil Corp., according to the documents filed with the secretary of state.

Oil and Gas Industry Fights to Preserve Billions in Tax Credits

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

For the second time President Barack Obama will request from Congress an end to more than $36.5 billion in Federal tax breaks for the nation’s oil and natural gas industry.

The billions in tax credits were passed in 2005 by the Republican-controlled Congress using the reconciliation process and signed into law by former oil man and president, George W. Bush, as part of the massive corporate tax credits widely referred to as the ‘Bush Tax Cuts.’

The industry also is fighting climate and clean energy legislation, claiming thousands of California jobs are threatened by the legislation.

A Tale of Two Initiatives: Why the System Needs Reform. Now.

By Steve Maviglio

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present Exhibits A and B as evidence of why California’s initiative system is broken.
Exhibit A: The Part-time Legislature Initiative. This initiative, drafted by Sacramento Republican attorney Tom Hiltachk, was the brainchild of a Sacramento political consultant. The consultants created an Astroturf political group, “Citizens for California Reform,” and named a failed GOP Assembly candidate as its director. Then it created a website and Facebook page, and began circulating an initiative in Republican circles and on the web calling for a part-time legislature.

Oil Companies Fund Stealth Attack on Clean Energy and Climate Law

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that two Texas-based refinery giants have stepped forward to fund signature gathering for a ballot initiative to suspend AB 32, California's landmark clean energy and global warming law.

Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp. have pledged as much as $2 million for the effort. Despite the state's rigorous campaign disclosure laws, none of the funds have been publicly reported. However, the oil companies acknowledged that they have secured PR firm Goddard Claussen, notorious for their "Harry and Louise" ads that attacked President Clinton's health care reform initiative in the early 1990s.

Tax Oil Companies, Not Students

By Robert Cruickshank

As protests unfold across the state and the nation yesterday against cuts to education and fee increases, more attention is finally being drawn to the massive crisis facing our students, our schools, and our future.

20 years ago a year at UC Berkeley cost just over $1,000 in fees. Even that was much higher than the $0 cost that the 1960 Master Plan pledged. The early 1990s saw a big rise in fees, and by the time I started at UCB in 1997 the cost had risen to over $4,000 a year. Now the cost is slated to rise to a whopping $10,000 per year, something many students and their families cannot afford to pay. And even as those costs rise, including at CSU and community colleges, classes are being cut as educational quality declines.

How Jerry Brown Can Win

By Robert Cruickshank

Over the last few months I've been making some persistent criticisms of the way Jerry Brown is approaching the budget mess and his campaign for governor. As a progressive Democrat, these criticisms aren't intended to tear Brown down, but instead to rattle the cage of a sleepy candidate and campaign, pointing out that their present course will likely only lead to Governor Meg Whitman. Which none of us wants.

So in the spirit of not being a critic sniping from the sidelines, I thought I'd lay out what Brown should do - and in fact must do - in order to get elected to a third term as governor of California. He cannot win unless these things are done.

Senate Committee Critiques Governor's Attacks on Environment, Public Health

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

If the Governor thought Washington D.C. was cold, he should have seen the Senate's response to his budget ideas. While California's Big Five were asking for cash in Washington, the Senate Budget Committee met to discuss several of the Governor's emergency budget session proposals, including three egregious attacks on public health and the environment.

The committee was clearly skeptical that any of these measures would create jobs or help balance the budget. And while environmental, conservation, labor, and local government groups filled the room to point out why elements of the Governor's plans don't pass muster, there were no groups present to support those proposals except the Governor's own finance team.