Sacramento: Where Pay-To-Play Means Pay-To-Frack
"California is home to one of the largest remaining deposits of oil in the country: the Monterey Shale. It has 13.7 billion barrels of oil locked underground and fossil fuel companies are spending millions trying to dig it up with hydraulic fracturing techniques. If they’re successful, this oil would be above and beyond what our best scientists say we already can’t afford to burn. Governor Brown’s latest actions make it clear he’s excited by the potential of the Monterey oil play and is paving the way for increased fracking across the state."
~Oil Change International
One would think that Governor Brown would be opposed to fracking, given his statements on the climate crisis in the past: “After decades of pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, humanity is getting dangerously close to the point of no return… Those who still deny global warming’s existence should wake up and honestly face the facts.” However, the self-proclaimed "climate champion" tends to show his true colors in more recent statements: “California is going to need petroleum-based energy for a long time, even as it transitions to a lower carbon future,” says Governor Brown. And to make his hypocrisy all the more evident, he tends to drool over the potential of California fracking with other statements: “The fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible, the potential is extraordinary.”
"It doesn’t take a whole lot of research to discover why Brown is so friendly to big oil, since oil companies are among his biggest campaign donors. For example, Occidental Petroleum contributed $250,000.00 to the campaign to pass Brown’s tax initiative this November, according to the California Secretary of State’s website." ~Dan Bacher
Adding to the outrage, this is certainly not the only contribution that Governor Brown has taken from the oil industry. This is merely the tip of the iceberg. To start, Brown received $170,452 from fossil fuel companies in 2010 according to Oil Change International's "Dirty Energy Money" database.
"The governor signed a bill that likely will expand fracking in California after taking $2.5 million in contributions from oil and natural gas interests." Writes Robert Gammon. "SB 4 also originally sparked opposition from within the Brown administration not long after state Senator Fran Pavley, a Southern California Democrat, introduced it earlier this year. In May, the state Department of Finance issued an official opposition letter on SB 4, essentially contending that the legislation was too tough on oil and gas companies and that it threatened to stifle the economic boom that fracking may create in California. At the time, the bill proposed a moratorium on fracking while the state conducts a full environmental analysis of the oil and natural gas extraction method. "This bill could result in significant negative impacts to California's economy," Brown's Department of Finance argued back then. "A moratorium would likely result in a significant loss of jobs and tax revenues.""
Additionally, one would think that the so-called "climate conscious" democrats in the California legislature would be far more conscious of the climate exasperation that fracking for heavy, sour crude in California shale formations would inevitably deliver. Of course, as I have explained in previous blogs, you would be wrong.
"One would also assume that our Democratic state leaders would vote in support of legislative bills that actually reflected our overbearing pleas for a fracking moratorium; that truly echoed the hard work, determination and persistence that we endured in order to get such a resolution passed in the first place.
"One would rationally conclude that these democratic leaders, who claim to champion the issue of climate change, would incessantly fight for legislation that would sincerely address our catastrophic climate crisis. If one was as naive as my past self, one would think that the overwhelming speciousness favoring a moratorium or ban on fracking would necessarily induce tangible legislation reflecting the convictions of their constituent base. Unfortunately, one would be wrong."
Following the money, the reason our super majority failed to pass these proposed moratorium bills (AB 1301 and AB 1323) becomes quite clear...
"How could we fail with AB 1323 when we had so much hope for it's passing? Perhaps our elected Democratic representatives were distracted by more important things. Maybe they were just too busy figuring out what to do with $195,306 of contributions from the oil industry---The world may never know; but i certainly have a pretty good guess as to which of the two seems more plausible. After all, when was the last time we've seen anything important come to fruition thanks to a legislative body?"
"I think many of us now understand this monetary deception corroding our political system. As Lauren Steiner explains: “In states where there are regulations on fracking, they aren’t enforced either by design, or because agencies are both underfunded and understaffed by state governments often bought and paid for by Big Oil.”"
"How much money did your Democratic Assembly Member get paid to dismantle our fracking moratoriums? How much were they compensated to explicitly ignore your voices? What is their reasonable price for allowing our planet's future to rest in the hands of oil and gas companies? Find out here."
Fracking Up The Golden State - Part 2 : Duplicitous Dems & Gasland, California
It's also not too difficult to understand how influential the oil and gas industry can be when trying to gut regulatory bills like SB 4. As I mentioned in another blog, another big player in California lobbying is the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), who loves to make "good impressions" on our politicians as they are gearing up to amend and vote on crucial regulatory bills.
"The Western States Petroleum Association... has positioned itself as one of the largest donors to the Democratic Party over the last few years. Besides purchasing policies from Governor Brown's office, the WSPA has been an instrumental force in the weakening of SB 4. In fact, they were kind enough to treat some of our assembly members with a generous $13,000 dinner the night before the assembly voted to pass SB 4."
"The word is "Pay-to-Play-politics" where the "pay" is a five course meal at one of Sacramento, California's toniest restaurants. The "play" is to take pre-written amendments that water down a landmark fracking bill... The payer for [the] $13,000 dinner for twelve California lawmakers was the WSPA."
"Moderate Democrats seemed to be the target audience for the treat: Assembly members Adam Gray, Henry Perea and Cheryl Brown attended, as did Senators Norma Torres, Ron Calderon and Lou Correa." Laurel Rosenhall writes. "For Perea, Correa, Calderon and Torres, the September dinner was not the first time they'd been treated to The Kitchen by the oil industry. They were among 11 legislators who attended a WSPA dinner there last year, valued at ~$11,000."
The California Frack Wars : Episode 1 The Fracking Menace
As DeSmog Blog reported: "There’s a lot of money at stake for oil companies that want to frack California’s Monterey Shale, so it’s no wonder Big Oil is spending big to forestall any new environmental regulations from biting into profits."
"But why?" You ask. The answer is simple: Democrats are awash in campaign contributions from the oil industry, eager to establish their political tenure. Apparently the idea of political office has transformed from a "public service" to a "tenured career", despite the ideals of a representative democracy. Given the nation's history of political corruption, no one should be too surprised, even when the lobbied electeds in these circumstances are, overwhelmingly, democrats. To understand more on the mechanical manipulation of California policy making, here's a comprehensive breakdown I was able to find on Oil Change International's new site "Big Oil Brown":
"Dirty Energy Money: The oil and gas industry has given millions to California's elected officials over the years and money keeps pouring in. Near the top of the dirty donor list is Occidental Petroleum a California-based oil company with a massive stake in the future of fracking the Monterrey Shale. It, along with buddies like Chevron, regularly 'max out' each election cycle, meaning they give as much as they legally can to their favorite candidates. This makes sure their interests are well served in Sacramento."
"Big Money Backchannels: One way fossil fuel companies get around campaign contribution limits is by supporting their favorite elected officials in other, less obvious ways – like pouring hundreds of thousands into their ballot initiatives and giving generously to charities they're associated with."
"Doing the Industry's Dirty Work: The fossil fuel industry's influence in California goes deep. Early in 2013 State Senator Rubio resigned his position and took a comfy job at Chevron. But it doesn't stop at revolving doors. Two top oil and gas regulators were abruptly fired in 2011 after industry complaints. The reason? They refused to create a shortcut for drillers looking to move forward with a risky oil extraction process."
A Case In Point: Big Money Democrats
The FPPC announced on Monday that it had levied a record $133,500 fine against Kevin Sloat and his Sacramento firm, Sloat Higgins Jensen Associates.
"Under California law, it's illegal for lobbyists to make campaign donations directly to candidates. The law is designed to limit pay-to-play politics so that a lobbyist who is actively working to support or oppose legislation can't get what he or she wants simply by making large contributions to key politicians." 1
"But the Sloat scandal showed that lobbyists are easily circumventing this law. Instead of making donations themselves, they hold lavish parties that they call "fundraisers," and they invite their clients to meet face-to-face with high-ranking politicians. Then, as the lobbyists and their clients press the politicos to give them what they want, the clients hand over $10,000 checks. According to the FPPC, from 2009 to 2012, Sloat held at least 26 such soirées at his upscale Sacramento home, involving at least forty politicians." 1
"The scandal is that a lobbyist, who makes his living off of money he gets from his clients and who is prohibited by law from using this money to make campaign contributions to politicians, can instead hold exclusive parties in which his clients can hand over those donations themselves." 1
Among the recipients of these contributions were: Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom, former Republican candidate for governor Meg Whitman, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles), the two Republican leaders, Sen. Bob Huff of Diamond Bar and Assemblywoman Connie Conway of Tulare; Democratic Senators Roderick S. Wright of Inglewood, Alex Padilla of Pacoima, Jerry Hill of San Mateo, Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles, Leland Yee of San Francisco, and Ted Lieu of Torrance.
Many of these members, particularly the Democratic members, were among the coalition of legislatures that worked tirelessly to block our Fracking moratorium efforts in 2013, as well as our push for a plastic bag ban.
"Senator Alex Padilla was one of some 40 lawmakers and other officials who received warning letters saying that Sloat’s payment of expenses at fundraisers amounted to improper campaign contributions." 2
In a statement to Padilla, Secretary of State candidate Derek Cressman said: “I urge you to take all steps possible to ensure that as a potential next chief elections officer you have the full confidence of all Californians,” Cressman said. “Returning any funds raised by Mr. Sloat would be an important step toward that goal.” 2
The Padilla camp, despite the clear violations and the request of several other lawmakers to return these donated contributions, responded with this statement: “There is no indication from the FPPC that any of the contributions were improper (i.e. since there was no legal steps taken due to the loopholes that allowed these contributions to take place, the Padilla camp has sided with technicalities, rather than the moral issue at play) and therefore we do not intend to return them." 2
Based on public records filed with the Secretary of State's Office, Sloat's clients have paid him and his firm millions of dollars to push environmentally detrimental legislation, and to weaken and/or kill environmental safeguards on their behalf for years. According to investigations, Sloat's contributions have come from clients who have "worked against the best interests of California residents and the environment." 1
"One of his best clients, for example, is Aera Energy LLC, which is jointly owned by Shell Oil and Exxon Mobile. Over the past decade, Aera has paid Sloat's firm $740,618 to lobby against proposed stricter regulations and new taxes on the oil industry in California. And since 2012, Sloat has worked tirelessly — and successfully — on behalf of Aera to block attempts to enact a moratorium on fracking in the state." 1
"Another of Sloat's clients is the powerful Metropolitan Water District, which supplies water to much of Southern California. In the past decade, Metropolitan has paid Sloat's firm $1.89 million, and in the past few years, his primary job on behalf of the district has been to lobby for the construction of two giant water tunnels in the Central Valley that would ship Northern California river water to the south." 1
"Sloat's client list also includes Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The investor-owned utility has paid his firm $1.86 million since 2003, and in the past few years, Sloat has lobbied on behalf of PG&E to limit home-solar rooftop installations throughout the state and to prevent stricter regulations for nuclear power plants from being enacted." 1
"Another of Sloat's clients, the American Progressive Bag Alliance, an industry group representing plastic bag manufacturers, paid him $50,000 last year to lobby against a proposed statewide ban on plastic bags." 1
"They even fail to acknowledge the crises they have created. They are so beholden to corporate interests that they no longer even bother to listen to us -- they just pat us on the head and smile -- and do what their corporate masters tell them. They don't understand environmental issues, they don't understand history, they don't understand economics, they don't understand science, they don't understand human rights, they don't understand globalization, and they don't understand capitalism. This is a crisis of capitalism. It will not be solved by regulations, it will not be solved by economic incentives, it will not be solve by the market. There may be a few sane voices shouting in the dark, but they are ignored."
Regardless of how the legal case unfolds moving forward, what this scandal says to me is quite simple: We need more honesty and integrity in Sacramento. Given that this year is an off-year election, Californians have a great opportunity to change the moral fabric of Sacramento by electing people who can truly step into a leadership role with real accountability and representation. There are two races that are of particular importance given the past year of California politics: The race for "Secretary of State" and the race for "State Controller".
Accountability & Representation: Needles In A Haystack
Based on this scandal and the past year of anti-environmental efforts, Speaker John Perez is clearly awash in questionable campaign contributions. Moreover, he was a shining star for the oil and gas industry last year, working with the Brown administration to pressure the Assembly and Senate Democrats to withhold their votes on crucial Fracking moratorium bills that many in the Environmental Caucus worked tirelessly to promote. In fact, the democratic party base passed a resolution in 2013, calling on our elected democrats to place an immediate moratorium on fracking.
The leaders of the Democratic Party -- including Governor Brown, Speaker John Perez, and President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg -- have blocked our attempts to pass a moratorium. Instead, we passed a severely crippled fracking regulation bill called SB 4. The moratorium bills were killed, SB 4 was gutted, defiled, and ultimately passed, and now we are Fracking up the golden state midst a record setting drought, with no end in sight. Speaker Perez is running for State Controller in 2014, but with a legacy of being controlled by oil and gas, it would be a tragedy to let such an important position go to someone who values the Oil and Gas industry more than the voices of his constituents.
On the other hand, we have a wonderful alternative for this position: Betty Yee. This remarkable woman is a grassroots champion, a true representative, and someone determined to put California on the right track. She happens to be one of the nicest people I have ever met and she is a lover of the environment. Listening to her speak is like listening to a symphony of genuine passion for progressive change. She wants big money out of politics and as such, she is running a purely grassroots campaign to gain our support.
About: With demonstrated leadership in serving as a responsible steward of our tax dollars, Ms. Yee will bring her fair yet tough-minded discipline to the office of Controller, California’s independent fiscal watchdog. She will work hard to restore and maintain California’s fiscal health so that the doors of opportunity in the Golden State may stay open for all. Check out her website, facebook and twitter.
With the Secretary of State position, we have three Democrats battling for our support. As I mentioned earlier, both Leland Yee and Alex Padilla have been hounded by this shady parade of donation gymnastics. Derek Cressman, on the other hand, is running a grassroots campaign with an impressive resume of progressive activism. While these candidates may not be entering a position that will have any influence on what the state does with the issue of Fracking, Derek Cressman seems to be the only person in this triple-threat that has any understanding of the dangers of Fracking. (Leland Yee seems confused on what Fracking actually is, and Senator Padilla has given various responses to his position on Fracking based on the audience and the time of year, all of which have been different -- i.e. I have no idea what his current position is at the moment... perhaps the convention will clear that up, or make it all the more confusing).
Beyond his environmentally sound opinions, Derek is a grassroots champion, a genuine sympathizer for the issues that Californians are truly concerned about, and he is a passionate activist for progressive ideals. We need someone who will work on campaign finance reform -- a personal mission of his -- and we need someone who will help our state take a leading roll in abolishing, to the greatest extent of his power, both corporate personhood and the deplorable amount of money that continues to hound our election process.
About: Derek is committed to overturning Citizens United, protecting voting rights, and conducting elections with integrity. For the past 18 years, Derek Cressman has been a national leader in the fight for fair elections, expanded democracy, and more transparent government, most recently as a national Vice President at Common Cause. Find out more on his Website, Facebook, and Twitter. He is genuine, bold, intelligent, fearless, and passionate. Derek has all the qualities of a great leader and a great organizer. And if that wasn't already enough, he truly is a great human being.
If you want representation, responsibility and leadership in California, look no further. Derek Cressman and Betty Yee are two steps in the right direction. California deserves real leadership; Californians deserve real representation; and both Derek Cressman and Betty Yee deserve your vote in 2014.
2014 : The Year We Put An End To Fracking In California
(Elected Officials Should Pay Close Attention...)
In 2014, you can count on a lot of changes in Sacramento. While both Betty Yee and Derek Cressman have very good views on the issue of fracking, the people who will have the greatest influence on upcoming moratorium bills in the 2014 legislative session, as well as other important pieces of climate change legislation, are none other than the state assembly, state senate, and of course, our governor.
The people of California, as well as the democratic party's base members, have learned their lesson from last year's trainwreck. We will, yet again, fight for real action on climate change, as well as another attempt to put a moratorium on Fracking in California. And this time, there will be real consequences for inaction. I have started a petition to demand a fracking moratorium in 2014.
As many of you know, the democratic party passed a resolution last year, demanding a moratorium on fracking. Moreover, the majority of Californians favored a moratorium or a ban. Still, despite our arduous efforts, we were despicably ignored. This year, we will be amending the party platform to reaffirm our stance on the issue. And this time, our elected California Democrats can be certain of one thing: If they fail to vote in favor of a fracking moratorium, they can expect far less support come election day. In fact, they can expect a lot of bird dogging throughout the year. You thought Governor Jerry Brown has had it bad? You ain't seen nothing yet.
So, I suggest that all elected and running Democrats in the Assembly and Senate take a really good look at Assemblyman Marc Levine's letter to Governor Brown, calling for an immediate moratorium on fracking. And for the sake of your 2014 election efforts, I suggest you sign onto it immediately.
A Message To My Fellow Democratic Party Delegates
We cannot avert climate catastrophe with a regulatory approach. A regulation doesn't put an end to the destructive process it aims to permit. Regulations create a new set of rules in which the destructive process is allowed to continue while adhering to a new subset of rules. Given the failure of our regulatory agencies (e.g. DOGGR) to protect the health and safety of Californians from the harms in which they are supposed to police, what do people really expect a regulatory law like SB 4 to do? How often will these wells be checked? How many wells can the agency be expected to oversee on a regular basis? Do we really trust the good old oil industry to self report with the utmost integrity and honesty? Does anyone truly believe that fracking can be done safely in the first place? How many overseers are they going to hire to monitor California's 55,000 oil and gas wells? How many of them are going to regularly monitor the 2,100 wells that have already been fracked? (Or, as Governor Brown likes to say: "Fracking can't happen until a major and the first serious scientific study to an environmental impact analysis that I required by a law I signed two months ago is done." His ignorance is appalling...)
Are you content with the fact that all of us have been severely undermined by our own Democratic Governor, who threatened to veto a moratorium bill despite the California Party having passed a resolution demanding a moratorium? Are you comforted by the fact that our Super-Majority of Assembly and Senate Democrats failed to pass a moratorium (twice), despite our unanimous demands for an end to fracking? Are you fed up with this misrepresentation yet? Have you had enough? Isn't it about time we did something about it?
The fact is, SB 4 is utterly ineffective. We voted for a moratorium last year, and this year, the message is the same: we need a moratorium on fracking immediately. Senate Bill 4 does nothing to confront the climate crisis, and it does nothing to protect the public or the environment. As I have stated previously, "If the aim is to regulate Fracking in California... we are, in essence, accepting that fracking is acceptable. And in 2015, whatever SB4 defines as "properly regulated fracking" will be the new industry standard; the next set of guidelines for fracking to follow. They will adhere to these new definitions so that they may continue to extract, refine, and ultimately burn the oil and gas they seek."
As a matter of fact, the oil industry is praising this bill, and they are wasting no time in expanding their exploration of California shale deposits. As Claire Sandberg writes: "The passage of SB4 has been good news for Occidental. In an October investor call, Occidental executives cited "more favorable permitting" as the impetus behind its plan to increase capital expenditures by $500 million next year in California. "Most of this increase will be directed towards unconventional drilling opportunities where we have more than 1 million prospective acres for unconventional resources," said Occidental president and CEO, Steve Chazen."
“SB4 could be viewed as a pro-fracking bill dressed up as an anti-fracking piece of legislation.” ~Wayne Lusvardi
SB 4 undermines 70% of Californians who are concerned about resource extraction via hydraulic fracturing and/or acidization. It explicitly ignores the 58% of Californians who, in a 2013 poll, said they strongly supported a moratorium and/or an outright ban. It willfully dishonors the California democratic party’s rank and file, who have been calling on the state elected to put an immediate moratorium on fracking.
Amending the party platform, endorsing candidates, and passing resolutions, as far as I know, are the greatest powers that a party's base has to effectively influence elected officials. To witness first hand such a blatant disregard of the Democratic party's base on such a unanimous deliberation is incredibly irritating and completely disrespectful. It seems as though we have been beguiled by our elected officials in order to get them into office, only to see our most arduous efforts and unanimous directives haughtily ignored.
SB4 is insufficient in and of itself. It tells us when they are fracking, where they are fracking (and if you live within the vicinity of the well, you get a letter in the mail), and it tells us how deep they are drilling, with how much water (a lot), and some disclosure of chemicals thy are going to use. Basically, we get information on the where and when of a process most of us know all too well. If Pavley's bill is truly "the strongest regulatory law on fracking" in the nation, then our state and national representatives are nothing but insolent sympathizers to our most genuine environmental concerns. They are absentminded to the moral imperative for prudent action on climate change. Our electeds are completely ignorant of their representative roles, desensitized by the endless flow of campaign contributions, and blinded by their egotistic thirst to maintain power. Let's make a stand on this issue. Let's make it abundantly clear that we are fed up with this dog and pony show. We need a serious commitment to climate action and this lolly gagging nonsense must end immediately. We have a damn super majority for crying out loud.
If we can put enough pressure on our elected California Democrats, I believe that we can illicit real action from our state party. Many of us are outraged by the lack of progressive policies being proposed in California, and we have more than enough reasons to be upset with the clear lack of communication between our democratic base and the elected officials we work tirelessly to get into office. We must stand our ground this year, and we must demand an end to this bullshit political posturing.
My Petition & Pledge: We Demand A Moratorium Now
This petition serves to address the failure of real representative democracy in the state of California. Despite the overwhelming support for a fracking moratorium, our representatives have failed to address the demands we have made thus far. The petition reads as follows:
Dear Elected California Democrats: We Demand A Moratorium On Fracking
TO: Governor Jerry Brown, California Assembly Democrats, California Senate Democrats, Democrats Running For State Assembly or Senate Seats
(1) We are demanding a moratorium on fracking right now. We are demanding that Governor Brown place an immediate moratorium on fracking or he will not receive our vote for any re-election campaign he may be considering.
We are demanding that our elected Democrats respect the Democratic Party's position on unconventional methods of oil and gas extraction; We are demanding an immediate moratorium on fracking and acidization. We are demanding that our elected Democrats start listening to the majority of their constituents, 58% of whom are demanding a moratorium or a ban on fracking. Finally, we are demanding that our elected Democrats start responding to the irrefutable science of climate change with genuine prudence by ending the fracking nonsense.
(2) We are demanding that our elected leaders come out against fracking and work towards an immediate fracking moratorium in California. We are demanding that they sign on to the letter that Assemblyman Marc Levine has written to Governor Brown, demanding that he place a moratorium on fracking.
Until such actions are taken by each and every individual candidate in the Democratic party, the individual members who are not dedicated to placing a moratorium on fracking will lose our assistance or support until such actions are taken. Such lack of support is mapped out below.
No more donations to any candidate that does not respect the position of the party platform. No more phone banking, no more canvassing, no more fundraising, no more grassroots organizing, no more event planning, and no more assistance to democratic candidates that do not make the implementation of a fracking moratorium a top priority. No more volunteering, no more voter registration, and no more endorsements for candidates that do not favor a moratorium or ban on hydraulic fracturing.
(3) Finally, our elected Democrats, and those who are running for election this fall, will come out against fracking and they will work to immediately place a moratorium on fracking in California or they will not receive our vote in the 2014 elections.
Contested elections against Republicans, regardless of the tightness of the race, will receive the same absence of a vote unless a fracking moratorium is a top priority. Our demands are clear. The implications are real. The choice is theirs.
--------- THE PLEDGE ---------
We, the undersigned, pledge to withhold our support and our votes for any member of the Democratic Party who does not support the Democratic Party platform's position on fracking. We pledge to withhold support and votes from any Democratic candidate that fails to make a fracking moratorium a top priority in 2014. We are demanding a fracking moratorium in California right now.
You've Got To Let It All Go... Fear, Doubt & Disbelief
Of course, there are many reasons to hesitate with this idea. The problem to many is: "If we tell them we will not vote for them if they don't take the climate and other progressive values to heart, then they will get bad press in their 2014 race." Then they pose the question: "Would you rather have a Republican win that election?"
My point: "If the Dems want to win their races, they have a duty to push their policies towards climate action and progressive ideals." I truly think this is what the inside game has boiled down to. I think there needs to be a progressive wave of transformation. They do everything else for the sake of political gains... why not put them on the spot for the climate. If they want democrats, greens and independents voting for them, they better move their priorities towards our demands.
After all, we are their base --- we run their campaigns, we register their voters, we knock on doors for them, we call for them, we write their emails, we raise money for them, we give them their good PR, we get out the vote for them, and we are the primary reason they are eventually elected. We need to make it clear that our resolutions are passed for a reason. If they expect success---from our coordinated efforts---they need to respect our demands. A resolution isn't some elementary school project; we aren't asking for a pat on the head. These are majority demands; and we expect some god damn respect for the efforts we make. People are pouring their lives into this party, and the party stands for many great virtues that we all share passion for. But jesus christ batman, we expect some real recognition for the laborious efforts we make as a party base.
Climate action is a moral imperative. (Our current climate predicament: HERE)
This election will come down to each candidate's position on Climate Change, and it will come down to their position on Fracking in this state. We're sick of this "business as usual" approach. If you are serious about being elected, then it's time for you to get serious about the climate. Fracking is exasperating the climate crisis and this "cleaner" burning fuel nonsense has got to stop... especially when California is mostly fracking (or acidizing) for sour, thick, heavy crude (some of which is more carbon intensive than Alberta Tar Sands crude...) The burning of all this fuel would do more damage to the climate than the Keystone XL Pipeline ever could. All of these crucial points have been communicated to the Governor by the nation's top climate scientists, as well as Governor Brown's former advisers.).
To make matters worse, it's now abundantly clear that fracking presents a host of concerns beyond climate exasperation. Fracking & waste-water injection has caused earthquakes in seismically inactive regions across the nation. California happens to be seismically active. Water contamination as a result of shale development via hydraulic fracturing has been confirmed in four states now. Fracking is noisy, prone to spills during transportation, leads to flaring or the spewing methane directly into the atmosphere, and is highly prone to accidents. When the industry resorts to acidization, surrounding communities are being sickened by the volatile emissions and toxic fumes. It exponentially increases traffic, causes road damage, and proliferates industrialization. Fracking produces radioactive waste water, necessitates ecological destruction, and it desecrates our lands. California is currently experiencing a drought and "96% of new oil and gas wells were located in areas where there was already fierce competition for water"according to a recent study. And to make matters worse, most of the water used in Fracking is removed from the water cycle entirely.
“As a longtime oil and gas engineer who helped develop shale fracking techniques for the Energy Department, I can assure you that this gas is not “clean.” Because of leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, the gas extracted from shale deposits is not a “bridge” to a renewable energy future — it’s a gangplank to more warming and away from clean energy investments.” ~Anthony R. Ingraffea.
The rhetorical nonsense that politicians are spewing about the benefits of fracking is nearly as detrimental as the methane that these wells are leaking into the atmosphere. In fact, natural gas fracking is worse for the climate than burning coal. Fracking is a bridge to environmental perdition, and as far as elections are concerned, any further pro-fracking hubris will be a one way ticket to a failed 2014 election bid.
Note To Elected And Campaigning Democrats:
If you tell me that jobs are more important.... well, I don't agree with the statement, but I can tell you that Renewable energy does in fact create more jobs than fossil fuels. Not to mention the fact that the industry has dramatically exaggerated their job creation figures, inflating their job-creation projections by nearly 800%. In other words, the promises of job creation from the oil and gas industry is mostly bullshit. I would tell you that if you were serious about jobs, you'd be serious about promoting renewable energy. And by the way, renewable energy is both viable and ready for large scale deployment. I suggest you read Mark Jacobson's plan for 100% renewable energy in California. With cleaner energy, you kill two birds with one stone; creating jobs and giving future generations a planet they can thrive on. If that's too difficult for you to understand, then you are not intellectually fit for political office.
It's time for a real shift in our energy policy, and rhetorical statements without tangible results won't cut it any longer. We demand real action on climate change; we demand clean energy; we demand an end to Fracking, and we demand it now.
Upcoming Event : Don't Frack California Rally & March
It's time to #UnFrackCal. Please join us In Sacramento on March 15th to tell Governor Brown to put an end to #Fracking now! More information & Bus/Housing Details: Here.
RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/...
Once again, if you are a resident of California, I would really appreciate your support in signing my petition to demand a Fracking moratorium: http://www.credomobilize.com/...
To Be Continued...