California Oil Refiners Split on Prop 23

Shell’s Refinery in the aptly named town of Oildale (near Bakersfield) back in 2004. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Times today runs down the list of California’s major oil refiners, which are also California’s biggest individual carbon emitters, and finds Tesoro, Valero, and Koch Industries  have not brought along their industry brethren in the fight to stop AB 32 with Proposition 23.

Prop 23 would suspend the 2006 law until the state’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% or below and stays there for a year, something that’s happened three times in the last four decades, depending on how you count.

But seven weeks before the election, Margot Roosevelt’s tally for the Times reveals that:

– Chevron is officially neutral

– ConocoPhillips has yet to contribute

– Shell Oil opposes Proposition 23

– BP has not taken a position on the initiative

– ExxonMobil has decided not to get involved

Chevron, headquartered in San Ramon, is one of only two California-based big oil companies. The other one, Occidental of Los Angeles, is on board with a $300,000 donation of record to the Prop 23 campaign. Spokesman Richard Kline wrote me in an e-mail:

“The implementation of AB 32 would hit California with over a million lost jobs and substantially higher energy prices. Implementing it in the teeth of the most significant recession in the last 60 years would be foolhardy and negatively impact every one of us who live and work in our state…”

Beyond that, he recommend I speak with Anita Mangels of the Yes-on-23 campaign.  I have, and part of that conversation will air in an upcoming feature on Proposition 23, to air on The California Report.

The Times, by the way, also got hold of an e-mail appeal from the president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Assn., literally begging for contributions to the “Yes” campaign. According to the Times, it read, in part: “I am pleading with each of you — for our nation’s best interest and for your company’s own self-interest.” The Refiners Association, which has ponied up $100,000 so far, claims that the initiative could “mean the difference between life and death for our industry in this century…. AB32 would have the effect of outlawing petroleum-based fuels in California in the second half of this century.”

Interesting, since a major talking point of the “Yes” campaign lately has been to dwell on the things Prop 23 would not outlaw. In his email to me, Occidental’s Kline took pains to add:

“Under the California Jobs Initiative [proponents’ name for Prop 23], California’s environmental laws – which are among the toughest in the nation – will remain intact. Those laws already protect our air and water from smog-forming emissions and other pollutants related to human and environmental health and they will remain in full force and effect.”

California Oil Refiners Split on Prop 23 2 February,2018Rachael Myrow

One thought on “California Oil Refiners Split on Prop 23”

  1. Bill Clinton, Al Gore & Senator Obama supported the California
    2006 Prop. 87, a GMO corn ethanol welfare program.

    Bill, Al, have changed opinion on the ethanol mandate, I wonder if California
    will make this the time for CHANGE?

    I support a waiver of the ethanol mandate, voluntary use of ethanol in my gas.

    Federal ethanol policy increases Government motors oil use and Big oil profit.

    It is reported that today California is using Brazil sugar cane
    ethanol at $0.16 per gal increase over using GMO corn fuel ethanol. In this
    game the cars and trucks get to pay and Big oil profits are the result that may
    be ready for change.

    We support the ethanol mandate change to voluntary ethanol in our

    Folks that pay more at the pump for less from Cars, trucks, food,
    water & air need better, it is time.

    The car tax of AB 118 Nunez is just a simple Big oil welfare
    program, AAA questioned the policy and some folks still agree.

    GOOGLE: Prop 87 (510)

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Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow is Senior Editor of KQED's Silicon Valley News Desk. You can hear her work on NPR, The World, WBUR's Here & Now and the BBC. She also guest hosts for KQED's Forum.  Over the years, she's talked with Kamau Bell, David Byrne, Kamala Harris, Tony Kushner, Armistead Maupin, Van Dyke Parks, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tommie Smith, among others.

Before all this, she hosted The California Report for 7+ years, reporting on topics like assisted living facilities, the robot takeover of Amazon, and chocolate persimmons.

Awards? Sure: Peabody, Edward R. Murrow, Regional Edward R. Murrow, RTNDA, Northern California RTNDA, SPJ Northern California Chapter, LA Press Club, Golden Mic. Prior to joining KQED, Rachael worked in Los Angeles at KPCC and Marketplace. She holds degrees in English and journalism from UC Berkeley (where she got her start in public radio on KALX-FM).

Outside of the studio, you'll find Rachael hiking Bay Area trails and whipping up Instagram-ready meals in her kitchen.

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