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This Valentine's Day: Energy Tinder

Have you ever thought about what kind of partner our energy sources would make? This Valentine's Day we invite you to play Energy Tinder - swipe through and see what type of energy you want California to be in bed with. 

The largest methane leak in US History

After nearly four months of spewing methane, the leak at Porter Ranch is temporarily plugged. But problems for the SoCalGas Co., the utility that owns the storage facility, and the people of Porter Ranch are far from over.
  • SoCalGas. is facing a new kind of lawsuit – wrongful death. The family of the victim claims the fumes from the leak exacerbated her lung cancer, hastening her death and impairing her quality of life in the time she had left.
  • A quick tally of the methane leak’s unfortunate stats over the past 100 days: more than 25 lawsuits filed; a climate impact over the next 20 years equal to seven coal-fired power plants; 3,954 relocated households; and a bill of $44.5 million and counting for SoCalGas.
  • With thousands of residents still displaced, the Porter Ranch leak teaches us that being a climate refugee isn't just for the poor anymore.

Big Oil Politics

California Lobbying disclosures for the end of 2015 are in! And the figures reveal the oil industry outdid itself again with a record-breaking $21.5 million spent in 2015.
  • What was the oil industry spending money on? We looked at 10 years of lobbying and corresponding clean energy and climate policies - and broke it down in one infographic.
  • Big Oil pays big bucks to prevent action on climate. Last year the industry spent $10 million in California to prevent the inclusion of a 50% reduction in gasoline use in SB350. Such dedication to furthering the devastating impacts of climate change across the globe is simply terrifying.
  • Oil companies donated $148.4K to democratic and $114.4K to GOP lawmakers’ campaigns for re-election in the second half of 2015. The majority of checks were written in September, when Big Oil persuaded the Legislature to amend SB350. Much of that money went to “moderate” democrats, who were instrumental in gutting SB350.
  • In the last 10 years, the oil lobby has spent a staggering $127 million in California

Crazy Trains

  • Last week, the San Luis Obispo County Planning commission held a hearing on Phillips 66’s proposed oil-by-rail spur, which would bring an additional 2.5 million gallons of crude oil through densely populated urban areas five days a week.
  • Each of the 83 members of the public who spoke at the Phillips 66 hearing opposed the oil train proposal.
  • Communities hundreds of miles apart are asking themselves the same question about oil trains: are the benefits worth the risks? Benicia residents fighting their own oil train project sympathize with the citizens of San Luis Obispo, where Phillips 66 oil trains would likely have to cross a 19th century bridge just a mile from the city’s thriving downtown.
  • Valero Energy wants to train in an additional 100 oil cars to the Benicia refinery every day. Benicia residents don't love the idea.
Sign the petition to stop Phillips66

Happy Birthday to Fuels Under the Cap!

In 2014, the oil industry and its front groups unleashed scary predictions about how transportation fuels coming under California’s cap and trade program would hurt the economy. A year later, we looked at how the economy did in 2015 – and found the oil industry was dead wrong. #shocker.

Big Oil Knew

It turns out more than just Exxon knew the science behind climate change. An Inside Climate News investigation revealed the American Petroleum Institute commissioned a task force in the early ‘80s to monitor and share climate research. The task force created a report that predicted global warming could “have serious consequences for man’s comfort and survival.” A year after API received the report, it disbanded the task force and turned climate research over to the lobbying arm of its organization.


Fracked Up

  • Oklahoma isn’t the only place getting all shook up from fracking. A new paper links a swarm of California earthquakes in 2005 to nearby wastewater injection wells. 
  • Big Oil uses a lot of water. Famers need a lot of water. California doesn’t have a lot of water. So some farmers have to use Big Oil’s wastewater for irrigation. Math question: if oranges are grown with wastewater, and oranges themselves are 90% water, what percent toxic are oranges? Maybe we'd know - if we were testing the crops. 
  • Oklahoma’s growing earthquake problem (thanks, fracking!) is exactly that – a growing problem. The Obama Administration even passed an order mandating buildings regulated by the Federal Government follow heightened structural safety requirements. We have a better idea. #StopFracking
Climate change as a national security issue: The Pentagon issued orders detailing the ways the U.S. military should prepare for the threat of climate change.
Mystery of the day: More than 700,000 gallons of oil had to be removed from a damaged barge on the Mississippi River in late January. An estimated 25,000 gallons were missing from the barge and have not been located.
Fossils are getting dirtier; alternatives are getting cleaner. Although emissions from gasoline combustion are holding steady and emissions from oil extraction and refining are rising, emissions from biofuels and renewable grid electricity are dropping.
A petition is calling for a ballot initiative requiring politicians to wear the logos of their top 10 donors while speaking or voting on the floor. We kind of love this idea.
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