Two Texas oil companies have been evasive about whether they are backing a California ballot initiative that would suspend the state's landmark global warming law, signed with fanfare by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.
But it wouldn't be surprising if Tesoro Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. were behind the initiative to delay AB 32.
The Texas companies – which operate refineries in Benicia and Wilmington, Martinez and Los Angeles, and hundreds of gas stations throughout California – have been well-known players in the fight to weaken global warming legislation at the federal level, and they are major donors to state politicians working for the same goals.
The California ballot initiative – which would suspend AB 32 until the state unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent – is being sponsored by Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Chico, as well as Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Rocklin.
Last year alone, the oil and energy industries donated $14,200 to Logue's campaign coffers, including $2,000 from Valero. Other Logue donors in 2009 include Chevron, Occidental, and the California Independent Petroleum PAC.
But that's small change for the Texas-based oil companies.
In 2009, Valero donated $160,450 to more than 40 other California politicians and political action groups, including $85,000 to the state Republican Party.
Tesoro's donations last year added up to $123,500, includng $110,000 to the Committee for Industrial Safety in Contra Costa County, a consortium of Shell, Tesoro, ConocoPhillips and Chevron refineries in the area. (The group recently donated $102,000 for a safety patrol.)
While he pushes a delay of the global warming law, Logue has been touting an economic impact study conducted by Sacramento State – highly criticized by environmentalists – that contends AB 32 would cost $3,000 for each household and as much as $40,000 a year for small businesses. Logue told Cosmo Garvin at the Sacramento News & Review:
It would absolutely break the back of California business. … My problem is that California is being asked to go it alone. We don’t think California should have to play by different rules than the rest of the country.
Representatives for Tesoro and Valero have declined to say whether they were funding the signature-gathering effort, after Capitol sources told ClimateWire that the Texas oil companies were the "sole funders" so far. Signature-gathering efforts for initiatives can cost as much as $2 million or more.
Representatives of Tesoro and Valero, along with Logue, referred questions to their new Sacramento political PR firm, Goddard Claussen, which only said the proper disclosures would be made in due time. But Goddard Claussen said it expects the necessary 435,000 signatures required to qualify for the general election ballot will be ready by the first week of June.
"It's a brash move for two giant Texas oil companies to try to buy off California politicians and then buy their way onto the ballot," said political consultant Steve Maviglio, who is working with the pro-AB 32 groups. "But we believe Californians will see this deceptive initiative for what it is: two of the state's largest polluters trying to kill California's clean energy economy and skirt our state's clean air laws."
From the Secretary of State's website, the recent contributions to state politicians from Valero:
|03/04/2009||CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY||OTHER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$25,000.00|
|06/29/2009||CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY||OTHER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$25,000.00|
|12/15/2009||CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY||OTHER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$25,000.00|
|04/30/2009||PROTECT JOBS, THE ECONOMY AND EDUCATION||OTHER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$15,000.00|
|04/30/2009||CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY||OTHER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$10,000.00|
|06/30/2009||DEVORE IN '08||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 70||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$3,600.00|
|07/23/2009||VILLINES FOR INSURANCE COMMISSIONER 2010||INSURANCE COMMISSIONER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$2,500.00|
|02/09/2009||YEE FOR SENATE||STATE SENATOR 08||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$2,000.00|
|04/27/2009||FUENTES FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 39||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$2,000.00|
|04/27/2009||RONALD CALDERON FOR SENATE 2010||STATE SENATOR 30||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$2,000.00|
|04/27/2009||VILLINES OFFICEHOLDER ACCOUNT||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 29||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$2,000.00|
|04/30/2009||TAXPAYERS FOR ROD WRIGHT 2012||STATE SENATOR 25||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$2,000.00|
|09/08/2009||VILLINES FOR INSURANCE COMMISSIONER 2010||INSURANCE COMMISSIONER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$2,000.00|
|03/04/2009||BENOIT FOR SENATE 2012||STATE SENATOR 37||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|03/04/2009||FRIENDS OF MIMI WALTERS FOR SENATE||STATE SENATOR 33||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|03/04/2009||FRIENDS OF TOM HARMAN||ATTORNEY GENERAL||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|03/04/2009||GARRICK FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 74||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|04/27/2009||BRIAN NESTANDE FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 64||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|04/27/2009||FRIENDS OF JEFF DENHAM FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR 2010||LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|04/30/2009||BERRYHILL FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 25||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|06/30/2009||BLAKESLEE FOR SENATE 2012||STATE SENATOR 15||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|06/30/2009||FLETCHER FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 75||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|06/30/2009||GAINES FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 4||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|07/23/2009||FRIENDS OF ANTHONY ADAMS AGAINST THE RECALL||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 59||OPPOSE||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|07/23/2009||RE-ELECT TONY STRICKLAND SENATE 2012||STATE SENATOR 19||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|09/08/2009||BLAKESLEE ASSEMBLY 2008 OFFICE HOLDER ACCOUNT||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 33||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|12/11/2009||GLORIA NEGRETE MCLEOD SENATE 2010||STATE SENATOR 32||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|12/15/2009||GAINES FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 4||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|02/25/2009||ROBERT GARCIA FOR LONG BEACH CAMPAIGN||CITY COUNCIL MEMBER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|02/27/2009||COMMITTEE TO ELECT MIKE GIPSON FOR CARSON CITY COUNCIL||CITY COUNCIL MEMBER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|03/04/2009||HARKEY FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 73||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|04/27/2009||ADAMS FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 59||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|04/27/2009||FRIENDS OF BILL EMMERSON||STATE SENATOR 31||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|04/27/2009||FRIENDS OF RICK KEENE||STATE SENATOR 4||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|04/27/2009||LOWENTHAL FOR STATE SENATE 2008 OFFICEHOLDER ACCOUNT||STATE SENATOR 27||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|04/27/2009||MIKE DUVALL FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 72||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|04/27/2009||TAXPAYERS FOR HOLLINGSWORTH FOR ASSEMBLY 2012||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 66||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|04/30/2009||BLAKESLEE ASSEMBLY 2008 OFFICE HOLDER ACCOUNT||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 33||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|04/30/2009||SMYTH FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 38||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|06/30/2009||BRIAN NESTANDE FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 64||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|06/30/2009||FRIENDS OF DAN LOGUE FOR ASSEMBLY||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 3||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|06/30/2009||FRIENDS OF DAN LOGUE FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 3||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|06/30/2009||GILMORE FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 30||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|06/30/2009||SENATOR BOB DUTTON FOR ASSEMBLY 2012||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 63||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|06/30/2009||SILVA FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 67||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|12/11/2009||TAXPAYERS FOR ROD WRIGHT 2012||STATE SENATOR 25||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|12/15/2009||FRIENDS OF BILL EMMERSON||STATE SENATOR 31||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|04/30/2009||ROBERT GARCIA FOR LONG BEACH CAMPAIGN||CITY COUNCIL MEMBER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$500.00|
|12/15/2009||WRITE IN TONIA REYES URANGA FOR 7TH DISTRICT LONG BEACH CITY COUNCIL 2010||CITY COUNCIL MEMBER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$350.00|
And from Tesoro:
|04/23/2009||COMMITTEE FOR INDUSTRIAL SAFETY||Committee for Industrial Safety - Contra Costa County||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$110,000.00|
|12/22/2009||BONILLA FOR ASSEMBLY, SUSAN||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 11||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$2,000.00|
|05/21/2009||BLAKESLEE FOR SENATE 2012||STATE SENATOR 15||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|03/27/2009||FUENTES FOR ASSEMBLY 2010||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 39||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|04/08/2009||WRIGHT 2012, TAXPAYERS FOR ROD||STATE SENATOR 25||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,500.00|
|06/30/2009||BONILLA FOR ASSEMBLY, SUSAN||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 11||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|05/29/2009||HUFF FOR SENATE - 2012, TAXPAYERS FOR BOB||STATE SENATOR 29||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|10/13/2009||BLAKESLEE FOR SENATE 2012||STATE SENATOR 15||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|10/13/2009||LOWENTHAL FOR ASSEMBLY 2010, BONNIE||STATE ASSEMBLY PERSON 54||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|09/14/2009||LOWENTHAL FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR 2010, ALAN||LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|12/22/2009||VILLINES FOR INSURANCE COMMISSIONER||INSURANCE COMMISSIONER||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$1,000.00|
|05/11/2009||HERNANDEZ O.D. DEMOCRAT FOR SENATE 2010, DR. ED||STATE SENATOR 24||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$500.00|
|07/08/2009||FOSTER 2010, RE-ELECT MAYOR BOB||MAYOR||SUPPORT||MONETARY||$500.00|