The Next Three Weeks In Sacramento Could Change Everything

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The future of the Earth, and California's dependence on Big Oil, could be determined in these last three weeks of the Legislative session.    

That’s one of the reasons we launched Capitol Watchdog, our new project to pull back the curtain on corporate corruption in the Capitol.

These are some of the questions that will be answered soon:

  • Will California cut petroleum use in half by 2030 through Senate Bill 350?  It’s a move that could spur new standards worldwide to combat greenhouse gas emissions at an upcoming United Nations meeting in Paris.
  •  Will California's big oil refiners – who will stop at nothing to stop SB 350 —  be required to open their books, justify their refinery outages and keep enough gasoline on hand so that California doesn’t continue to pay as much as $1.30 more a gallon than the rest of America?
  • Will promised legislation for patient safety, an overhaul of toxics regulation, health insurance protections, and increasing voter turnout emerge?

Capitol Watchdog will target corporate corruption under the Capitol dome and in state buildings for the next three weeks and beyond.

We’ll watch the legislature, the governor, statewide officials and key regulatory agencies — where the real power is in Sacramento.

Capitol Watchdog will expose and confront the power plays, back-room deals, and even the ballot measure deceptions. And we’ll let you know what you can do about it.

Take the oil companies.  Consumer Watchdog blew the whistle in December on the coming oil company supply and price manipulations as part of their campaign to foil climate change limits.  

Since February, we’ve exposed the Golden State Gouge and dogged the oil refiners over gas price spikes that their low inventories have created despite worldwide crude oil prices plummeting. Their recent record profits from California oil refining proves the point, and much of it only came to light because of our efforts to get the California Energy Commission to publish state data it had stopped making public.

Aside from record profits, it’s clear the price manipulation in California has a huge political benefit for the oil refiners as well. If climate change limits are enacted in Sacramento, the oil industry will likely try to get voters to referendum any new law. The refiners are trying to blame environmental regulation for the gas price spikes that their price supply manipulation has created.

Last week, we set the record straight in the Sacramento Bee in response to its House Republican columnist Dan Walters getting the numbers wrong:  “Triple Prices + Triple Profits = Golden State Gouge." That’s the kind of look behind the curtain we’ll continue at Capitol Watchdog.

It’s very possible that the end of session showdown will spill over to November 2016 – when oil refiners will wage a no-doubt deceptive campaign to repeal greenhouse gas limits and consumer advocates and allies like Tom Steyer may have to take new limits on gasoline price gouging to the voters.  

Stay tuned…and get a front seat for all the action by subscribing to our weekly feed at Capitol Watchdog.

Carmen Balber
Carmen Balber
Consumer Watchdog executive director Carmen Balber has been with the organization for nearly two decades. She spent four years directing the group’s Washington, D.C. office where she advocated for key health insurance market reforms that were ultimately enacted into law as part of the Affordable Care Act.

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