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And the winner is...

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is receiving TWO awards this weekend! She’ll receive the first annual Distinguished Woman and Petroleum Advocate of the Year award (because she leads the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento) AND our prestigious Scummy (because she’s an oil industry shill).

WSPA has spent an impressive $12.8 million so far in the 2015-16 legislative session, making them, per usual, the top California lobbying spenders of the session.


Big Oil’s Big Money

An astonishing amount of money has been dropped on California’s 47th Assembly district primary, considering that both candidates are Democrats who will likely face each other again in the November general election, says the LA Times in an editorial. Nearly all of the $2.3 million in campaign donations and independent expenditures has gone towards the reelection of incumbent Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino), and almost half of that amount came from Chevron. Why would an oil giant care about a lil ol’ assembly seat? It might have something to do with Cheryl Brown being one of the “moderate Democrats” who helped derail a legislative effort to decrease Californians' dependence on oil.
Lobbying figures for Q1 are in, and the oil industry heavy hitters (WSPA, Chevron, Phillips 66, AERA Energy, Exxon and Shell) have spent more than $25 million so far in the 2015-16 legislative session. The oil industry has been spending an average of $55,000 per day since January 1, 2015.
The oil and gas industry spent over $141 million lobbying Capitol Hill in 2014 - more than $350,000 a day. According to Clean Water Action, this money helps elect candidates who support pro-industry legislation and cut back regulations that protect our air and water. When Big Oil pollutes our politics, it impacts us all. 


Climate Refugees

As the impacts of climate change mount, more and more communities will be displaced by drought, rising sea levels, severe storms, and drinking water shortages. The U.S. government is currently resettling the nation’s first climate refugees, and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell warns that regardless of the steps we are taking to combat climate change, we are going to have climate refugees, who will strain the U.S.’s resources and budgets.


Exxon Knew

We can’t look away from the trainwreck that is the ExxonKnew scandal. The latest: Exxon is now invoking the First Amendment to push back against subpoenas from state attorneys general seeking decades of documents on climate change, saying the subpoenas violate free speech protections for those who question climate science. Quick reminder - the tobacco industry also used the free speech argument when peddling their lies 19 years ago.
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is the latest to demand that Exxon disclose climate risks to shareholders. The fund is the largest on the planet, with assets worth $870 billion.
Exxon, however, may not yet be feeling the squeeze. The oil giant made a strong recovery on the stock market in the past few months and this week was trading at a close to 52-week high. So far this year, Exxon has already shot up close to 13 percent, reports Seeking Alpha.

Fracked Up

Scientists have linked domestic oil extraction and ethane levels — a carbon compound that can both be dangerous to breathe and contribute to climate change. One development - the Bakken Shale formation of North Dakota and Montana - accounts for about 2 percent of the entire world’s ethane output.


Opponents of fracking often point to the dangers of potential water contamination. In Texas, those fears are being realized. Recent floods have flushed crude oil and toxic fracking chemicals from oil wells and fracking sites into the state’s rivers. How bad can fracking fluid be? According to one expert, cattle that drank water with fracking fluid in it died within an hour.


A group of American mayors are asking the Obama administration to issue strong rules on methane, a potent greenhouse gas known to leak at gas drilling sites.


When Communities and Oil Fields Meet

Nearly half of the 8,000 families who left Porter Ranch to escape the natural gas leak still haven’t returned home. Between fears of another leak (which already happened) and the health hazards from lingering chemicals, few are eager to head home. And those trying to sell their homes are facing another issue – sales have dropped 44 percent since the leak began. So, for the time being, they're stuck in hotel rooms. In summary, when it comes to gas leaks, everybody loses.


What are the actual effects of urban drilling on local populations (which, by the way, are often highly populated, low-income neighborhoods)? VICE News investigates in this 20-minute video.


Crazy Train

Every day, oil trains run through many rural Northern California towns that lack the resources to fight the fires that could erupt if these trains derail. The only option: evacuation.


An oil train derailed and blocked several streets in Tacoma, Washington. Thankfully, no one was hurt this time. How can we make sure there won’t be a next time? By stopping oil trains in their tracks.


More oil trains pass through Chicago than any other big metro area. Nearly all of the oil is light sweet Bakken crude, a type that is particularly explosive. That’s why Chicago Mag wrote this outstanding article on so-called bomb trains. “In whole, these trains constitute likely the biggest, heaviest, and longest combustibles to ever traverse America, and they do so routinely.”


Big Oil Oopsie

A natural gas pipeline explosion did serious damage in Pennsylvania last week. Flames shot into the sky and were visible for miles, leaving one man in the hospital, damaging two homes, melting a road, and leading to power outages - and a major surge in natural gas prices.  So much for the bridge to a clean energy future.


An international meeting of oil ministers in Doha, Qatar ended in discord, indicating that our petroleum-fueled world - in which demand outstrips  supply and profits remain steady for oil producers - may be winding down. Oil prices will likely stay low and small producers may go belly up.
The U.S. installed more renewable energy capacity than natural gas in the first quarter of this year.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is planning its energy future – and they’re going with renewables. It’s the canary in the oil field.
170 governments signed the Paris agreement, ushering in an era beyond fossil fuels. As the president of France declared, “There is no turning back.”  
Incredible heat could make whole swaths of North Africa and the Middle East uninhabitable within a few decades.
As VW tries to figure out how to make up for its emissions scandal, Mitsubishi Motors just admitted to using testing methods that don’t comply with Japanese regulations for the past 25 years.
Over the course of two weeks, CNN aired oil industry ads five times longer than they aired climate-related coverage. Not cool, CNN. Not cool. Kind of like the planet.
San Diego's Republican mayor is pushing a plan to run the city on 100% renewable energy.
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