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The easiest way to stay up-to-date on all of the oil industry's slimy, polluting and oily news in California. 

Front Groups


The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is doubling down on its astroturf group, the California Drivers Alliance. The oil industry group is investing in a multi-million dollar fear-mongering campaign against Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (SB350), sending expensive-looking, multi-page mailers to homes all over California and buying up radio spots warning of the “California Gas Restriction Act of 2015” - which, to be clear, isn't a thing.
  • The mailers “turn out to be part of a massive and highly dishonest oil company campaign denouncing one of the best and most exciting bills that has been considered by the California legislature in a decade,” said Adrienne Alvord of the Union of Concerned Scientists. In reality, said Alvord, the act aims to strengthen and accelerate clean transportation technologies and policies we already have. “The simple truth that explains all of WSPA’s lies about SB 350 is that the legislation, while good for people, is bad for oil companies.”
                                 
  • An independent fact-check by the Sacramento Bee found the mailer “misleads by suggesting gas rationing, surcharges and citations based on driving habits are in store.”
                                 
  • “Big Oil has risen to a new level of hysterical ooga booga,” writes Bentham Paulos in Grist. “Big Oil hates a California climate bill so much that it’s telling outright lies about it.
                                 
  • Contra Costa Times reminds us that this isn’t the first time the oil industry used scare tactics to attack a climate bill. In 2002 Big Oil warned SUVs would be banned and people would only be able to drive on even- or odd-numbered days. While none of that came to fruition, California did reduce its fossil fuel consumption. 
                                 

Follow the Money


The oil industry spent $6.2 million to lobby legislators and other state officials in California in the first six months of 2015, according to the California Secretary of State.

The biggest lobbyist? The Western States Petroleum Association, spending more than $2.5 million in the first two quarters of the year. Looks like lying flyers aren’t the only investment the lobbying giant is making. 
 
                                                         

 

Fracked Up 

Thousands of California children attend schools located within a mile of fracking wells, exposing them to still unknown health risks.
  • One father in Shafter says there are 45 fracked wells within 2 miles of his daughter’s school, where many students suffer from asthma and other debilitating illnesses from the air toxins. This is more than a public health issue, writes the father in the Guardian. “I believe California is illegally discriminating against students of color by permitting wells that are disproportionately close to the schools they attend.”
  • More than 150,000 Californians signed a petition urging the state to outlaw fracking.
  • More than a half million Californians live within one mile of a fracking well
 

Oil-by-Rail

As pipeline proposals stall, ramping up crude-by-rail projects may seem enticing to the oil industry. But they’re going to have to get through the communities first.
  • Diverse groups of community members and activists are fighting the projects, pointing to the dangers of exploding trains, increased air pollution, and literally no economic benefit to those in danger.
  • First responders in St. Louis say the region is not prepared for a train derailment that could wipe out an entire neighborhood. “It’s a life or death issue,” said one resident. “If one of these trains were to derail, we would all be gone.”
 

                            

Oil-by-Rail

Remember back in February when an explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance caused major damages and injured four workers? So does the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), which issued 19 citations for workplace safety and health violations and fined the company $566,000
               
 
 

                            

Santa Barbara County Health officials closed (another) oil-covered beach. Officials don’t think it’s related to the Refugio spill from May.
 

                         

A new poll shows that 81 percent of Latinos worry about climate change and say it’s time to act.

 

Bargain-Basement Prices: A state Supreme Court judge approved a settlement between the New Jersey and Exxon. The amount? $225 million for $8.9 billion worth of pollution – $8.68 billion less than the state had originally requested. 

 

It’s Getting Hot in Here: July was the hottest month in at least 136 years (when records began), and 2015 is on track to be the hottest year ever. Scientists say climate change is worsening California’s drought.

                    
Oil Spills: Shell Oil accidently spilled hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic gas in Deer Park, Texas. Seems like the type of company we can trust drilling in the arctic, no?

Kayaktivists, which is now totally a thing, paddled out to sea this weekend to bring attention to bills that could help prevent future oil spills in Santa Barbara.
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