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Dear Friends,

We want to talk to you about something serious: our meth problem. It's an addiction, and it's causing serious damage to our climate. That's right. Methane - a primary component of natural gas, is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. Throughout the state and country, natural gas extraction, transportation, and storage are leaking huge, and we mean YUGE, amounts of this gas. Though the massive methane leak in Porter Ranch drew attention to the problem, we still aren’t talking about it nearly enough.

So we want to shine a light on it. Starting August 9, we're launching a six-part video series to give a shout out to one of the biggest most dangerous problems no one knows about.

Breathe on,

SFC Staff

And the Scummy goes to…
Powering California!

For its new videos praising oil and attacking clean energy!

You may remember Powering California. It’s a front group of Occidental Petroleum’s spinoff company California Resources Corp. (yes, that’s complicated on purpose), which teamed up with the Los Angeles Times’ “content solutions” team to spread industry propaganda last year.

Well, Powering California is back, now with a series of videos, at the exact time California is debating critical legislation that will determine our climate future, in California and in other states. As Media Matters for America reported:
Powering California is out with a series of new videos praising oil and attacking clean energy sources. One of the videos baselessly asserts that 'renewable energy can’t replace oil,' falsely claims wind energy is 'expensive,' and bombastically declares that 'oil and natural gas are woven into the fabric of America.' Another video features feel-good man-on-the-street interviews with paid actors touting California’s oil and gas industry.”

Chicken or the Egg: Who Deceived First?

As the extent of Exxon’s climate denial is exposed, many are drawing parallels to how Big Tobacco lied to the public about its products’ health impacts. But newly unearthed documents suggest Big Oil taught Big Tobacco how to lie first. When tobacco sought to confuse the public over smoking, it turned to a strategy already in use by oil companies, one that sowed doubt on lead, smog, and climate research. They even used the same PR firm.

California has a Meth Problem

  • The California Air Resources Board released draft regulations with rules for monitoring, repairing leaks and capturing vapor from facilities that produce, process and store oil and natural gas, i.e. methane. The draft rules come in response to a massive leak at a natural gas storage facility near Porter Ranch forcing evacuations and causing serious damage to the State’s climate progress. (Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, and it turns out to be leaking all over the state.) Not surprisingly, the Western States Petroleum Association doesn’t like the draft rules, erroneously claiming the rules could increase pollution.  
  • L.A. County lawsuit demands new safety equipment on natural gas wells, just because of one lousy leak that lasted for four months and caused a town to evacuate after methane caused stomach aches and nosebleeds.

They’re Baaaaack! Front Group Californians Against Higher Taxes Reemerges with Gusto

Californians Against Higher Taxes, a WSPA-created front group dormant since 2014, has reared its ugly head, making the same old incorrect claims that California’s anti-pollution law is a “hidden tax” on consumers. The oil-backed group claims, therefore, that extending California's cap-and-trade law would require a two-thirds vote from the legislature - right as lawmakers are considering extending cap-and-trade past 2020.

Refinery Flares Cost ExxonMobil Nearly $20 million in Just Two Years

Turns out, ExxonMobil paid a hefty $18.5 million in fines over the past two years for producing excess sulfur oxide emissions during flaring events at its former refinery in Torrance. Because why upgrade pollution control equipment and protect public health when you can just pay a fine? (Hint: ExxonMobil announced earnings of $16.2 billion in 2015.)

Local Leaders Not Addressing Wilmington’s Pollution Crisis

The pollution from refineries is deeply affecting the health of those living in Wilmington, writes one resident. “Not only does the poor air quality precipitate bloody noses and watery eyes for us, but the pollution and contaminants can also lead to long term health problems like asthma, cancer, birth defects and miscarriages.”
Alameda Bans Fracking
Alameda becomes the fifth California county to ban fracking. Although there isn’t any fracking in the county, the ban marks the march forward on the county-by-county ban of the controversial oil and gas extraction technique. With Gov. Jerry Brown opposed to a statewide moratorium or ban, activists have focused their efforts on individual counties.
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