Oil and Gas Lobbyists Are Taking Aim at a Legislative Plan to Make California’s Oil and Gas Industry Pay

Experts shred Gavin Newsom’s blame game for California’s high gas prices

When California’s Democratic governor gets tough on the state’s powerful oil and gas lobby, he’s not doing it to get a better deal from Chevron or drill. He’s going after the lobbyists themselves, claiming they’ve bought the Legislature and have run California out of business.

That’s what a growing group of activists who accuse Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of a broad effort to weaken the state’s energy, transportation and environmental regulations is accusing them of this year.

They are taking aim at a proposal that would make the oil and gas industry pay for clean-up costs from any spills they had the temerity to make. They accuse the Democratic leaders of undermining decades of oil and gas-industry lobbying efforts to influence California policy.

And they want their representatives to be honest and say what they are truly doing.

“If the governor and the speaker are willing to sell out their constituents and the voters who elected them by working with the powerful oil and gas companies, then it is time to do what the voters of this state elected them to do,” said Jim Costa, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Make the oil and gas companies pay their fair share. Stop selling out California’s future and our future as a nation. Stand up for good public policy. And do what you say you’re going to do.”

The oil and gas companies, which include Chevron, Tesoro, Devon, Occidental and Texaco, are lobbying hard against the idea after it emerged Monday that the state’s top energy regulator had proposed a new law that would force those companies to shoulder all the cleanup costs of any spills they want to make.

The push for a new law, which was championed by the California Chamber of Commerce and supported by the state’s energy sector, comes at a time when California’s energy prices are at the highest in the nation. And the industry is lobbying hard to derail a proposal that would

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