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And the Scummy goes to…
The Western States Petroleum Association!!!

For fighting for the oil industry’s right... to pollute!

Remember that time the Richmond Chevron refinery sent thousands to the hospital when it caught fire and covered the community with heavy, toxic smoke? Well, understandably, the local air quality management district didn’t like that one bit. So, officials set up five rules designed to reduce refinery emissions and ensure Big Oil doesn’t poison its neighbors. Seems reasonable, right?  

Well, not if you’re elite scum bag. The Western States Petroleum Association filed a lawsuit, with their lawyers calling the rules “arbitrary and capricious.” Meanwhile, climate justice groups like the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, support the rules, saying they’re needed to protect our climate and health - especially for disadvantaged communities, who shoulder the brunt of pollution.

You gotta fight… for your right… to pollute!

Bomb Train Strikes

We often say that when it comes to oil-by-rail, an accident is just a matter of when, not if. Still, we were floored to learn of a messy and unnecessary oil train derailment, when 16 of Union Pacific’s cars derailed. Four broke open, spilling oil and exploding in Mosier, Oregon. In addition to the raging inferno, the derailment caused:
  • 42,000 gallons of oil to spill, contaminating the Columbia River and seeping into the soil
  • 300 residents to be evacuated
  • 10 to 15 acres to burn
  • The city wastewater system to be contaminated
In the wake of the spill, Oregon Governor Kate Brown called for a temporary moratorium on oil tanker traffic. 
One year ago, the Union Pacific lobbied hard against a bill outlining stronger regulations of oil trains moving through California, Oregon, and Washington, touting its safety record.
The derailment is a reminder of all those who live in the Blast Zone. For example, in Washington 150,000 children attend school within a mile of oil train tracks.
No matter what you believe about the climate, fossil fuels or politics, you gotta want this insane practice to end. Watch our video here.

The ExxonKnew scandal keeps escalating - in the form of a bunch of letters.
Exxon Mobil Corp asked a federal court on Wednesday to throw out a subpoena that would force the oil company to hand over decades of documents as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into whether it misled investors about climate change risks. They used the First Amendment, free speech, as their reason.  The oil giant called the subpoena from the Massachusetts attorney general a “fishing expedition.”  Since when are attorneys general doing their jobs and launching inquiries into corporate fraud a bad thing?
Congress is joining the battle over state investigations into whether ExxonMobil lied to investors and the public about climate change.                                                   
  • Several Democratic congressional representatives wrote a letter to California AG Kamala Harris last week, supporting her ongoing Exxon probe. This letter is a response to an attempt by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) to “harass and suppress” her and several other attorneys general’s work on holding “companies accountable for swindling the American people as to the truth of climate science.”
  • New York's attorney general has refused to send requested documents about his investigation into ExxonMobil to a congressional committee, saying Congress lacks jurisdiction over state law enforcement. AG Eric Schneiderman told Republican U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith that his letter request from May 18 was based on "incorrect statements" about what he's doing and "raises serious constitutional concerns." 
  • Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) penned an op-ed arguing it’s time to divest from Exxon in the wake of the May 25 shareholders meeting that showed Exxon “has absolutely no intention of changing its business plan to avert climate change.”
Meanwhile, the Head of Responsible Investment at the Church Commissioners for England said the failure of a shareholder resolution on climate strategy at the ExxonMobil AGM illustrates the need for institutional investors, especially large U.S. asset managers, to become willing to challenge company management.

Lawyers affiliated with Exxon say comparing Big Oil and Big Tobacco are mere “futile efforts,” as “we cannot yet discern the factual connection between a company’s conduct and individual harm, even though we can observe the global effects of climate change at large.” Here’s our blog outlining why Big Oil totally is the new Big Tobacco.

The oil industry practiced misinformation before it was in the climate denial game - fighting clean air laws. Through the Smoke and Fumes Committee, industry blurred the science surrounding air pollution and worked to forestall unwanted regulation.

Methane: The Biggest Story No One Is Talking About

Methane - a potent greenhouse gas 30 to 100 times stronger than carbon dioxide - is extremely harmful to health and the climate - and the government might not know how much is there out there. The very system that we use to calculate emissions may be flawed, according to a complaint filed by NC WARN. That's because oil and gas companies are allowed to monitor emissions with a device that’s faulty. How do we know it's faulty? Cause the inventor of the technology said so. Turns out, emissions could be underreported by as much as 100-fold.
Who’s hurting the most from the methane problem? Those who can protect themselves the least. In California, over 1.3 million residents, including over 500,000 Latinos and over 120,000 African Americans, live within a half mile from an active oil and gas facility. These same communities in the state have higher than average poverty rates and poor access to healthcare.

Urban Drilling: Happening in a Community Near You

City officials are sealing off oil wells in the backyards of two private Echo Park residences that are more than 1,000 feet deep and smell of rotting eggs.
An oil field near USC that has been causing health problems for nearby residents was finally ordered to close or comply with strict regulations. Complaints have been filed since 2008 and an onsite inspector was made physically ill during his visit in 2013.

Big Spenders

Oil companies that spent prolifically to shape California’s primary elections largely succeeded, with their preferred candidates advancing in several expensive races.

Front Group Watch

CARE - Californians for Affordable & Reliable Energy, a Western States Petroleum Association front group, launched a website claiming that California’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution are a waste. So basically, the oil industry thinks making big polluters pay to offset their harmful pollution - then using that money to help the communities most affected by said pollution - is a waste. 
A new energy era is upon us: For the first time since 1979, America’s cars, trucks, and airplanes emit more carbon dioxide than its power plants do.
We’re finding out a lot about Peabody Energy thanks to its bankruptcy court documents. For example, the coal giant funded over two dozen groups to promote climate denial and oppose environmental regulations.
Arctic sea ice hit a stunning new low in May.
You know that business rag with the climate-denying editorial board known as the Wall Street Journal? This week, Partnership for Responsible Growth, an organization pushing for a carbon tax to finance a “pro-growth” solution to climate change, called out the WSJ’s denial in a full page ad IN the WSJ. Seems like the WSJ is cool with this - though it will cost the group thousands of extra dollars than your average ad buyer.
Several members of Congress are critical of increased air pollution protections. This means several Members of Congress are supporting big industry at the expense of public health.
Without factoring in subsidies, renewable energy is projected to overtake natural gas as the dominant source of electricity generation in the U.S. by 2031.


A study from Harvard (ever heard of it?) found a carbon standard - like the Clean Power Plan - would benefit public health, the environment, and the economy. In fact, researchers calculated net benefits at $38 billion a year.


The Monterey County Board of Supervisors just voted to place a measure on the ballot to ban fracking. And they’re not alone – similar bans are already in place in San Benito, Mendocino, and Santa Cruz - and are in the works in Alameda County and Butte County. Way to #keepitintheground, California!


DC’s $6.4 billion city government pension fund has divested from fossil fuels.


The solar industry added more new generating capacity this past quarter than coal, natural gas, and nuclear power combined, according to the new U.S. Solar Market Insight report.


Solar will replace nearly all retiring coal in Texas.

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