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And the winner is...OKLAHOMA for choosing oil industry tax breaks over education!


After intense lobbying, Oklahoma’s oil companies scored a victory two years ago when state lawmakers voted to maintain some of the lowest taxes on oil and gas production in the United States - a break worth $470 million in the 2015 fiscal year alone. Schools, meanwhile, are having to cut classes, administrators and teachers to make up a growing revenue shortfall.

Next week, Exxon will have to face investors at its annual shareholder meeting. If we were CEO Rex Tillerson, we would not be looking forward to shareholder’s questions. Here are a couple of issues he may have to speak to:
                               
As more subpoenas are issued and more politicians add their voices to the chorus demanding an investigation, the Exxon scandal is quickly becoming the biggest existential threat the company has faced in decades. Adding to its headache, pension funds are putting pressure on ExxonMobil to start telling its shareholders how climate change will affect the oil giant’s business.
                                 
Just as Big Tobacco did in the ‘90s, Exxon is fighting attorneys general subpoenas claiming it was exercising its right to free speech when it misled the public. As we learned from Big Tobacco, the civil rights argument may not fly. In fact, in 2006, a federal judge presiding over a major tobacco case ruled the First Amendment doesn’t protect statements that are known to be false — such as downplaying the harms of its product.
                                 
Evidence shows that in 1982, the CEO of Mobil Corporation warned that burning oil sands could lead to an excess of CO2 in the atmosphere, which could have harmful consequences. In other words, even if Exxon didn't know (which they totally did), Mobil knew independently before the giants merged into ExxonMobil.
                                 
A handful of large U.S. law firms have issued warnings to their energy clients, suggesting they pay attention to the investigations into Exxon for its climate denial. And it seems an attorney at one such law firm used to represent Philip Morris. Looks like we’re not the only ones who think Big Oil is the new Big Tobacco.  
                                 

In a new twist in Exxon's climate woes, the Conservation Law Foundation says an oil transfer and storage station operated by ExxonMobil routinely violates the legal limits of the company's federal operating permits. And that will just get worse with climate change and the rising tide. 
                                 
In a move befitting its reputation, Exxon is bringing its Torrance refinery back online - but will be keeping its pollution control system off for the first six hours. They said they expect “somewhat higher emissions” during the startup, but assure us that no health thresholds will be exceeded.  We can probably trust them, right?
                                 

Fracked Up


Thanks to the fracking boom, natural gas contributed about the same level of greenhouse gas emissions as coal last year, according to the EIA.
                                 
Fracking has, rightly, been in the hot seat lately for causing man-made earthquakes. In fact, about 7.9 million people are now at risk from these man-made earthquakes across six states. But apparently this isn’t a new phenomenon. A recent study suggests the oil and gas industry has been the cause of quakes in Texas since 1925.
                                 
SoCalGas Co, the utility responsible for the Porter Ranch methane leak, is being fined $2.25 million for 45 safety violations, including failing to fix corrosion control systems.
                                 
Results from tests taken in Porter Ranch homes reveal barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals, which came from the Porter Ranch gas leak that started in October. These chemicals are likely the cause of resident’s health problems and the reason they still felt symptoms after the leak had stopped.
                                 
 

Big Oil Oopsies

A tanker truck spilled 3,700 gallons of fuel into a wildlife preserve that serves as a bird sanctuary on the San Diego river earlier this week. The spill could take a month to clean up.
                                 
Plains All American Pipeline was just indicted on 46 criminal charges, including four felony counts. A single employee of the company was indicted on three criminal charges as well. The company is responsible for spilling 143,000 gallons of oil off the coast of Santa Barbara last May, which fouled California beaches up to hundreds of miles away.
                                 
 
In case the Gulf of Mexico hasn’t been polluted by Big Oil enough, Shell just spilled 88,200 more gallons of oil into it. Take THAT, gulf.   
                                 

Crazy Train


The Phillips 66 rail spur proposal decision has been delayed again. The decision is on hold until at least September, as the planning commissioners await more clarification on “health and safety mitigation” concerns. We think the best way to mitigate the raging fires caused by oil train derailments is to not have any oil trains in the first place.

                                  

Big Oil goes to Sacramento


Big Oil’s war against SB 350 – a California climate law that established new goals for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and attempted to address oil dependency—isn’t over yet.  After heavy lobbying and a massive front-group effort last year, lawmakers dropped a provision mandating California cut petroleum use in half. Now, Big Oil is spending millions in five legislative races to oppose SB 350 supporters.

                                  

Front Group Alert! In the hopes of protecting the so-called “moderate caucus” (we call them oily dems) this election season, Chevron, Valero, Tesoro and California Resources Corp. threw $5.5 million into a front group called “Californians to Restore the Middle Class.”

                                 

Carbon dioxide emissions from the US energy sector have fallen 12 percent since 2005.
                    
Shell, ConocoPhillips and a few other oil companies just quietly walked away from $2.5 billion worth of arctic drilling rights. We wish we could tell you it’s because they had an epiphany about the existential threat of burning fossil fuels, but it has more to do with low oil prices and spending cuts.
                    
French oil giant Total SA, Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc., and ExxonMobil, are investing in clean energy.
                    
We just had our fourth record-breaking hottest month in a row this year.
A new report argues that the only way forward is green. If international companies don’t completely change their business models, they’ll be facing a “nasty, brutish and short” end within a decade. Right from the mouth of Britain’s most influence energy experts.  
                    
By the end of 2016, there will be twice as much solar as there was in 2014. Happily, the same certainly cannot be said for coal.
                    
Climate change is making natural disasters worse: they now affect 170 million people a year, up 280 percent from just three decades ago. The cost of storms, floods and droughts is up to $40 billion annually. And in the next 35 years, 1.3 billion people are expected to be at risk from flooding.
                    
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