Tesoro is recruiting other Big Oil companies, including BP, to repeal California climate and clean energy laws

Oil CompaniesThis exclusive report by Wonk Room is part of a Progressive Media blogging series on the fossil fuel-funded Prop 23 effort to repeal California’s clean energy climate law. Read more on Prop 23’s economic impact, national repercussions, and funding from Texas oil companies.

Working with veteran tobacco lobbyists in Sacramento, Texan oil companies are orchestrating a campaign to roll back California’s landmark clean energy climate change law, AB 32. So far, the largest donations have came from San Antonio-based Valero, which has ponied up over $1 million for the effort, and refining giant Tesoro, also based in San Antonio, contributing $525,000. Today, the Sacramento Bee reports that state Democrats are asking Attorney General Eric Holder to open an investigation into these donations.

In public, the repeal AB 32 campaign “” given the Orwellian moniker “California Jobs Initiative” “” says it is about helping low income people, small businesses, and improving the California economy. But behind closed doors, it’s about boosting already sky high oil company profits. According to Valero’s 10-Q corporate disclosure forms, the company views compliance with AB 32 as a risk to their bottom line.

According to a PowerPoint presentation obtained by the Wonk Room, Tesoro has been courting other oil companies to join their crusade to rescind AB 32. At an April 13th presentation to the Western States Petroleum Association, Dave Reed, a Tesoro refinery executive in Los Angeles, pitched his clean energy repeal initiative, Proposition 23. The Western States Petroleum Association is an oil trade group, like the American Petroleum Institute on the national level, that advocates for the interests of their industry, including expanded offshore drilling off California’s coast. The Association is made up of many oil companies operating in California, including BP, ExxonMobil, and Shell Pipeline. Reed’s PowerPoint drives home the message that cleaning the air and diversifying California’s energy sources will have a negative “impact on [Tesoro’s] business.” View a screenshot of Page 15 of the presentation below:

Tesoro Presentation

No to Proposition 23!Shortly after Reed’s presentation, three Western States Petroleum Association members “” Venoco, Occidental Oil and Gas, and Berry Petroleum “” donated to the Prop 23 campaign. Other Association members, like BP and ExxonMobil, have remained quiet “” although it is possible these companies are secretly laundering their donations through fronts like the Adam Smith Foundation, a Missouri-based nonprofit that is mysteriously financing the repeal AB 32 campaign.

Leading Prop 23 proponent Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Linda) told the Wonk Room that he expects that his effort will raise a whopping $50 million. To date, Chevron has explicitly steered clear of the Prop 23 campaign. To gain extra funds, Valero lobbyist Mike Carpenter, a former top Philip Morris political operative, has spent the past few months recruiting other trade association support for the initiative, spending April meeting with groups like the California League of Food Processors.

This is a Wonk Room cross-post


4 Responses to Tesoro is recruiting other Big Oil companies, including BP, to repeal California climate and clean energy laws

  1. Peter Mizla says:

    Should this be a surprise to us here?

    All these companies- led by their multi million dollar paid CEO’s want to continue their wholesale destruction of the planet.

    Greed has no boundaries I suppose- the lack of ethics with this group is criminal.

  2. Marc Roberts says:

    Oil companies lobbying against the best interests of the public? Im shocked
    A cartoon –

  3. Chris Winter says:

    I believe it was a beverage-container recycling initiative that brought in a lot of out-of-state money from bottlers to defeat it. I seem to recall some questions about the validity of signatures, too — but it’s been a while.

    The California initiative process was established on 10 October 1911 by Governor Hiram Johnson. That state followed South Dakota (1898) and then Utah, Oregon, Montana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Michigan, Arkansas, and Colorado.

    A History of California Initiatives: December 2002
    The Secretary of State has made available online an historical study and statistical analysis of California initiative measures from 1912 to 2002.

    This 115-page PDF consists of several tables listing the initiatives by year or by subject. For more detail, see the database at:

  4. Alan Durning says:

    Meanwhile, to the north . . .

    BP, Tesoro, and Conoco are the three largest contributors to a ballot measure in Washington that would impose minority rule on legislative revenue decisions–to protect themselves from a popular drive to tax hazardous substances such as petroleum and fund clean water programs.

    More here: