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And the Scummy goes to…
SHELL! For trying to get paid twice to clean up its mess

Fun Fact: California has a fund it uses to reimburse oil companies for cleaning up leaking underground storage tanks (don’t worry - it’s paid for by polluters, not taxpayers).

Turns out, Shell Oil Co. issued 100 claims, worth up to $150 million in potential total reimbursements, that were already covered by insurance and other sources. In other words, the oil-giant was trying to double-dip (though it denies any wrongdoing). That makes Shell about as trustworthy as a six-year-old that tries to get mom and dad to each dole out his allowance.

Now Shell owes $20 million in penalties for its attempts - and it still has about 900 claims pending with the state cleanup fund.
you should know about
Big Oil in California

1. The San Luis Obispo County says NO to Phillips 66 oil trains project!

Wednesday, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission voted to deny Phillips 66’s proposed rail spur, which would have allowed more than 7 million gallons of crude oil to be shipped via rail per week. The decision comes after a nearly three-year review process, with more than 20,000 Californians opposing the project, as well as more than 45 cities, counties, and school boards sending letters urging the planning commission to deny it. Phillips 66 has two weeks to appeal.

The decision comes on the heels of the Benicia city council vote to unanimously deny Valero Refining Co. a permit to build an oil transfer station at its bayside refinery. Valero has been attempting to get city approval for the project since 2012. It seems Valero doesn’t want to take no for an answer. An attorney on behalf of the Valero contends Benicia acted illegally when it rejected the plan and that the “illegal action technically means the city has given Valero approval to build the project.” Huh?

To round out the trifecta, Shell Puget Sound Refinery announced Thursday that it is no longer pursuing the rail unloading facility it has worked toward for several years in Washington state.

Seems this the anti oil-by-rail movement is picking up steam. 

2. Did Jerry Brown’s campaign “launder dirty” money from Big Oil?

The state’s campaign finance watchdog agency will investigate allegations that the California Democratic Party improperly funneled contributions from the oil and energy industry to the 2014 reelection campaign of Gov. Jerry Brown, officials said Friday. The group Consumer Watchdog filed a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission alleging that hundreds of thousands of dollars were given by energy companies to the state party, which shortly afterward made large donations to Brown’s campaign. The companies included the state’s three major investor-owned utilities, as well as Occidental, Chevron and NRG.

3. Getting to the bottom of health impacts from the Aliso Canyon leak

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed the health department to start planning a study of the possible health impacts associated with Aliso Canyon’s massive natural gas leak. This comes after residents have been speaking out about health impacts for almost a year.

One Porter Ranch mom whose three kids suffered the impacts of the methane leak penned an op-ed in support of tougher regulations on natural gas facilities across the state, pointing the finger at the utility for slowing the process. “California is working hard to prevent catastrophic methane leaks and stop the smaller ones that occur in our communities every day,” she wrote. “But Southern California Gas Co., the utility responsible for the 2015-16 Aliso Canyon disaster, is actively opposing health-protective regulations.”

The utility’s role in the massive leak hasn’t gone without notice. Along with other utility-owned oopsies, the leak helped inspire a state audit into California’s energy regulator (the California Public Utilities Commission) oversight of utilities, which has shown that the agency doesn’t guard against the appearance of improper influence in its decision making.

4. Big Oil isn’t too big for local races

The Inland Empire has a largely working class, Latino and African-American population that suffers from some of the worst air quality in the state. So it seems surprising that its Assemblywoman, Cheryl Brown, would have been one of the so-called mod-dems that helped the oil industry eliminate a portion of a bill that would have cut gasoline use in half by 2030. (The bill, SB 350, did pass with the other two provisions intact, which called for increased in energy efficiency and electricity from renewable sources.)

Until you follow the money.

This year, no race has seen more outside money than the 47th Assembly District. The biggest spenders? The oil industry and labor groups. Reminder: earlier this year, Chevron gave $1 million to Brown’s campaign and paid for a mailer touting her as an environmental champion.

5. AB32 turns 10!

California’s trailblazing climate policy, AB32, turned 10 years old last week, and there’s a lot to celebrate. In the last decade, we’ve seen emissions decrease, GDP increase and more than 27 percent of California’s demand for electricity is now met by renewable sources.

And it seems California is just getting started.

Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 32 into law - a piece of policy that extends and strengthens the goals of AB 32. Additionally, Brown just signed AB 2616, the state's fifth legislation this year that focuses on low-income communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by pollution, dirty development and greenhouse gases.

6. Oil well catches fire on Oxnard Plain

A malfunctioning valve on an oil well led to a fire and an oil spill on the Oxnard Plain on September 30. About 40 gallons of crude oil spilled and was contained by fire crews, according to officials.

7. Don’t drink the water

People in California's Central Valley could be drinking water tainted by cancer-causing chemicals used in oilfields, and current water-testing procedures would not detect these substances, according to a scientific report released by researchers at PSE Healthy Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California and the University of the Pacific.

The report identified dozens of hazardous chemicals used in oilfields that supply waste fluid used to irrigate food crops and recharge underground water supplies in California. Researchers note that fluid from these oilfields is recharging regional aquifers used for agriculture that "can also be used for domestic water supply (including drinking water)."

8. Officials to Phillips 66: please let us know about oil spills

The marine terminal that oil tankers use to unload crude to the Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo reopened last week, a week after an investigation into an oil spill and sickening odor prompted the company to shut it down. In the meantime, a top Bay Area health official said the refinery needs to notify local agencies faster next time it learns of an oil spill near its facility. Officials said Phillips 66 took 10 hours to tell the agency about the spill, a delay that could have impacted the investigation.

9. Oil refinery merger in California underscores risks of petro-economy nationwide

In a region known for being among the worst nationally for its air quality, plans are marching briskly forward on a proposed integration project that will combine operations at two sprawling oil refineries near Southern California's Long Beach area, expanding it into the single largest oil refinery by far on the nation's West Coast. The merger threatens to introduce additional toxins, such as benzene and sulfur gases, into a community that is already suffering from unnaturally high rates of asthma, cancer and other ailments, experts warn. And, as is the case throughout the nation, communities of color living adjacent to the refineries are disproportionately shouldering these toxic effects of our continued reliance on oil.

10. Not all oil is created equally

The Center for Biological Diversity released a report saying Monterey County’s San Ardo oil field is the most carbon-intensive in the state and produces more greenhouse gas pollution than even Canada’s Alberta tar sands oil. Want to know more about how carbon intensive different sources of oil are? The Oil-Climate Index tracks a variety of factors to see how each oil weighs in.
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