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Attorney General  Jerry Brown speaks news conference disclose new developments in his prope of excessive salaries in the City of Bell, in Los Angeles  Monday, July 19,     2010. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
A new Climate Central report warns that sea level rise is locking in quickly and threatening cities across the United States. Florida is, by far, the most vulnerable state; but other coastal states have plenty of threatened cities. In my own California, here's a very partial list of well known cities and the estimated date at which they become 25% submerged:
Huntington Beach, Orange County's "Surf City," 2020
Stockton, 2030
Palo Alto, home of Stanford University, 2060
Sacramento, home of the state capitol, 2060
Long Beach, 2090
Although Sacramento and Stockton are normally considered inland cities, they're connected to the San Francisco Bay through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a maze of sloughs, marshes, and levees. The report doesn't consider the impact of hypothetical sea walls and similar defensive measures.

As David Roberts asks: We are consigning hundreds of coastal cities to destruction. Who cares?

Who does care? California legislators go about their business of governing in Sacramento. Sometimes they pass good bills, like AB32, California's landmark global warming law. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes California Governor Jerry Brown signals that he knows the impact of droughts, wildfires, and other climate events. Sometimes he signals that he wants to drown the state in a tide of fracked, dirty, carbon-intensive oil.

Fracking and other new unconventional techniques to extract California's 15 billion barrels of oil emits nearly as much carbon as the Keystone XL pipeline. The Monterey Shale holds 2/3 of the US' reserves.

A state senator told me that Brown has cut a deal with the oil companies - he'll push fracking California's oil in exchange for campaign contributions to his 2012 Proposition 30 and his 2014 reelection.

Is it true? Did Brown cut a deal? Consider the evidence.

Occidental Petroleum has maxed out its campaign contributions to Brown's November 2014 reelection campaign, as of July 2013.

Among the contributions to Brown's Proposition 30 campaign, from state Fair Political Practices Commission records:

Aera Energy (Exxon-related), $125,000
Berry Petroleum, Denver, $35,000
Breitburn Operating, Houston, $21,250
CA State Pipe Trades Council (usually the pipeline union supports Big Oil), $100,000
Conoco Phillips, $25,000
E & B Natural Resources Management, Bakersfield, $20,000
MacPherson Oil Co., $50,000
Naftex, $10,000
Occidental Petroleum, $500,000
Plains Exploration & Production, $100,000
SoCal Pipe Trades Council, $125,000
Signal Hill Petroleum, $10,000
Vaquero Energy, $35,000
Venoco, $25,000
The roughly $1 million raised by the oil companies was part of a $40 million campaign to pass Proposition 30 - not a dealbreaker, but a significant quantity of cash for an industry that usually backs Republicans over Democrats. Last year, the unusual allies of Gov. Brown and oil companies were ascribed to fossil fuels' desire to avoid an oil severance tax. This year, the tax is off the table, but Occidental still maxes out its contributions to Brown.

A bill, SB4, moving through the state Assembly, will regulate fracking and other unconventional oil extraction techniques. It will provide some monitoring, notification to nearby residents, and limited disclosure of trade-secret-protected chemicals. It's opposed by those who want a moratorium on fracking, including Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch. And even that relatively weak bill may not be signed by Gov. Brown. Rumor has it that he wants a toothless bill resembling state regulations in process: one limited to fracking but not addressing acidization of wells and one that provides no disclosure to adjacent residents.

Brown wants the high speed rail line to be his legacy. But if he doesn't impose a moratorium on dirty, carbon-intensive oil, his legacy will be the drowning of Sacramento.

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics, DK GreenRoots, Climate Change SOS, Kitchen Table Kibitzing, and Central Valley Kossacks.

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