Editorial: Oil drillers want to overturn California’s new health protections. Don’t let them
Oil drillers want to overturn California’s new health protections.Don’t let them
by Andrew Freedman
Updated May 24, 2020 at 5:15 p.m.: This story has been updated with information on several lawsuits between California and oil companies that have been filed around the U.S., in addition to the number of public meetings in California related to the proposed state legislation.
California regulators this week laid out draft legislation that would open up the state’s oil and gas sector to major corporate players, with new regulations that could create a climate of corporate dominance over energy in the state.
The proposals would allow hundreds of new oil and gas companies to access California’s newly formed “regulatory sandbox,” or the state’s regulatory framework that would govern new oil and gas developments going forward. There’s concern, however, that the regulatory proposals also undercut a crucial provision of SB100, which requires large oil and gas companies to get permits before starting construction on new projects that will require new energy sources. California isn’t proposing to open up the state’s oil and gas sector to the entire state’s industry or allow it to compete on a level playing field with other states. But the proposal lays out a vision of a new, regulated oil and gas landscape that could open up a “bigger, better, bigger” industry that could potentially dwarf the rest of the country’s energy production.
“The regulatory sandbox is like a miniature casino. It allows companies to try to buy and hold their own regulatory process.”
Many of the major oil and gas companies in California, including Chevron, have already spent more than $7 billion on lobbying in the state over the last decade, paying for a full-time employee of its own. But despite this, one industry lobbyist tells The Huffington Post that the companies in California still have a lot to lose by the proposal, which is widely expected to pass and which would dramatically expand California’s oil and gas industry.
“California will need to spend lots of money on the legislative process to ensure that the state’s laws are enforced, and it’s in the best interests of the state’s consumers in the meantime,