San Francisco: Climate Shenanigans Target California Democratic Convention

photo courtesy of Diablo Rising Tide.

via Diablo Rising Tide

This weekend, as California’s Democrats, the next generation’s “real climate leader” Gov. Gavin Newsom and a dozen or so presidential candidates gathered in San Francisco, guerrilla climate advertisers with Diablo Rising Tide pasted, projected and otherwise displayed messages to the liberal masses about fossil fuels and climate change.

One of California’s biggest secrets is that the oil lobby has captured the  state government and dominates the public and political discourse around fossil fuels and climate change.

California writer Dan Bacher recently outlined a must-read of the power, influence and methods that the oil lobby uses around the state:

photo courtesy of Diablo Rising Tide.

“The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is not a household name in California, but it should be. It’s the trade association for the oil industry and the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying organization in the state. If  you want to know the industries, organizations and people that control California, WSPA and Big Oil are right at the top of the list.

WSPA represents a who’s who of oil and pipeline companies, including AERA, BP, California Resources Corporation, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Plains All American Pipeline Company, Valero and many others. The companies that WSPA represents account for the bulk of petroleum exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, according to the WSPA website, www.wspa.org.

WSPA and Big Oil wield their power and influence over public discourse in 6 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: (5) working in collaboration with media; and (6) contributing to non profit organizations.”

photo courtesy of Diablo Rising Tide.

In San Francisco this weekend, WSPA remained behind the scenes, but disruptions, bird-dogs and protest were peppered through the weekend targeting Newsom and presidential candidates.

  • At one point 11 year Charlie asked Newsom why California wasn’t adopting a Green New Deal. Newsom, doing his best impression of Dianne Feinstein, told Charlie that “California is doing enough on climate.” Clearly, in a state where hundreds of oil drilling permits were issued in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, a million acres of federal land are being opened to fracking and an entire city burned to the ground during wildfires, the state of California and its governor is not doing enough.
  • A group of Porter Ranch residents found Governor Newsom to ask him when the infamous Aliso Canyon methane storage facility was going to be closed. He re-committed to closing the facility, but forgot to include what his timeline. Maybe he should have just done it the first time and he’d not have to re-commit.
  • Climate youth also converged outside and inside the convention calling for stronger climate action.
  • And then the “conservative voice” of the Democratic presidential candidates, former Colorado Gov. John “Frackenlooper” Hickenlooper was booed during most of his speech after attacking climate action, healthcare for all and socialism. We should have disrupted that shithead.

More shenanigans await as we aim to continue fucking with Big Oil and its lacky politicians.

Online Stunt Draws Attention to PG&E Bankruptcy and $2.5 million Severance Pay for Former President Geisha Williams

January 23, 2019

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Online Stunt Draws Attention to PG&E Bankruptcy and $2.5 million Severance Pay for Former President Geisha Williams

MEDIA CONTACT: Climate Justice Crew, press@pgecalifornia.com. **Rising Tide does not take responsibility for the stunt.**

San Francisco, CA: Today, the Climate Justice Crew released a fake PG&E website and press release claiming that the former President and Chief Operating Officer, Geisha Williams, donated her complete severance of $2.5 million dollars as her last act in PG&E leadership. The stunt that has since gone viral intended to draw attention to PG&E and Mrs. William’s culpability of the Camp Fire that killed at least 86 people, destroyed more than 18,000 structures, and led to more than $30 billion in potential wildfire liabilities — California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record.

Overwhelming evidence shows that PG&E is solely responsible for starting the recent “Camp Fire” — including PG&E’s own statements. State investigators have also determined PG&E is responsible for at least 16 other fires last fall, 12 of which were deadly, and 11 of which clearly violated laws requiring proper maintenance and safety standards. Yet, the California Public Utilities Commission will soon begin to implement a provision that allows PG&E to pass wildfire costs onto the affected populations instead of the investor-owned San Francisco-based utility — whose net income in 2017 was $1.66 billion and whose former President and Chief Operating Officer, Geisha Williams, recently received $2.5 million in severance despite being in charge during the lethal wildfires of 2017 and 2018.

“We call for PG&E to take complete financial and ethical responsibility for all fires caused by its negligence. The stunt today was meant to draw attention to the spectacular miscarriage of justice that has transpired since the lethal Camp Fire — including the lack of transparency with regards to compensation for victims’ of this tragedy, the way in which PG&E has tried to dodge their debts by proposing a consumer bailout and filing for Chapter 11, and Mrs. Williams’ astronomical severance package,” said the Climate Justice Crew.

The PG&E bankruptcy should serve as a wake-up call for corporations like this to think how about their actions affect masses of people and have contributed towards the climate crisis — a crisis in which we only have 12 years to mitigate.

Climate Justice Crew stands with all residents impacted by the fires and refuses to allow the California Public Utilities Commission President Michael J. Picker and other politicians to bail out PG&E instead of dismantling it. We also recognize PG&E’s role in contributing to the increase in climate catastrophes, like the two-week-long smoke-filled skies over Northern California, by investing in massive fossil fuel infrastructure across California.

“There are alternatives to the monopoly utilities, like the Community Choice Energy project, where the public is in control of the electrical system. We need to democratize energy by putting in the hands of the people, not the corporations driven by profit. If we had decentralized energy — local clean energy — we wouldn’t need the transmission lines that caused the fires in the first place. We’re in a state of emergency where air pollution and climate disasters are more frequently disrupting, displacing, poisoning, and even killing people across the country. We need California to take these issues seriously before it’s too late and that means investing in community-led renewable energy systems that are local and regional — not CEOs and shareholders who make millions and millions in profit no matter what. Left unchallenged, this pattern of institutional and regulatory neglect ensures environmental degradation and climate change hit marginalized groups first and worst,” said the Climate Justice Crew.

Public #NoPGEbailout online petition and statement can be found here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/no-pge-bailout

Photos and video available here from previous #NoPGEbailout protests: bit.ly/nopgebailoutphotos

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Local Advocacy Groups Shut Down California Public Utilities Commission Hearing over PG&E’s Culpability in Northern California Wildfires

November 29, 2018

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Photos and video available here: bit.ly/nopgebailoutphotos

Online petition and statement can be found here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/no-pge-bailout

Local Advocacy Groups Shut Down California Public Utilities Commission Hearing over PG&E’s Culpability in Northern California Wildfires

San Francisco, CA: A coalition of local Bay Area groups shut down the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) public hearing on PG&E’s safety culture today to call for the privately-owned utility to take complete financial responsibility for all fires caused by its negligence and contributions to climate change.

Overwhelming evidence shows that PG&E is solely responsible for starting the recent “Camp Fire”, one of the deadliest and most destructive fires in California history. State investigators have also determined they are responsible for at least 16 other fires last fall, 12 of which were deadly, and 11 of which clearly violated laws requiring proper maintenance and safety standards. Yet, the state of California is willing to pass on costs to the affected populations instead of the private San Francisco-based utility — whose CEO could receive more than $12 million in bonuses this year.

The coalition stands with all residents impacted by the fires, and refuses to allow the California Public Utilities Commission, CPUC President Michael J. Picker, and other politicians to bail out PG&E by forcing customers to pay for their negligence that destroyed 14,000 homes, claimed 88 lives, and has 203 people still missing.

The coalition also recognizes PG&E’s role in contributing to the increase in climate catastrophes, like the two week-long smoke-filled skies over Northern California, by investing in massive fossil fuel infrastructure across California.

“The people who have to live with the consequences of your past decisions to subsidize shareholders and dirty energy infrastructure should not also have to inherit the debts of this irresponsible corporation,” observed the coalition in an online petition and statement.

In addition, the state of California hasn’t provided respirator masks, shelter, or relief for thousands of homeless and vulnerable folks, but now wants to bail out a bloated, investor-owned utility that has spent millions to defeat efforts that would usher in safer, renewable energy. Lawmakers need to prioritize lives, health and the climate, not the financial stability of PG&E.

“People across northern California were forced to endure the smoke from this fire for two weeks.” said Esther Goolsby, East Oakland organizer for Communities for a Better Environment. “Particularly vulnerable were Black, Brown and low-income communities, who face the brunt of the Bay Area’s pollution every day. Toxic air smothered us, but only volunteers like Mask Oakland came to help. Left unchallenged, this pattern of institutional and regulatory neglect ensures climate change hits marginalized groups first and worst.”

“We have an alternative to the monopoly utilities; Community Choice Energy, where the public is in control of the electrical system,” said Jessica Tovar from Local Clean Energy Alliance and East Bay Clean Power Alliance. “We need to democratize energy by putting in the hands of the people, not the corporations driven by profit. If we had decentralized energy — local clean energy — we wouldn’t need the transmission lines that caused the fires in the first place.”

“We’re in a state of emergency where climate disasters are more frequently disrupting, displacing, and even killing people across the country. We need our state to take climate change seriously before it’s too late and that means investing in community-led renewable energy systems that are local and regional — not CEOs and shareholders who make millions and millions in profit.” said Scott Parkin of Diablo Rising Tide.

The coalition is made up of the following groups: Mask Oakland, Local Clean Energy Alliance, East Bay Clean Power Alliance, Communities for a Better Environment, Diablo Rising Tide, Democratic Socialists of America and others. There will be a convening this Saturday, December 1st to discuss how to group will take next steps.

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Indigenous Grandmothers, Protectors & Defenders Rally and Take Action at the Gates of Shell Oil Refinery in Martinez, CA

Indigenous Grandmothers, Protectors & Defenders Rally and Take Action at the Gates of Shell Oil Refinery in Martinez, CA

via Diablo Rising Tide

shell noMartinez, CA:  Early this morning, more than six people have occupied the main entrance to the Shell Oil refinery on Pacheco Boulevard  in Martinez, CA today to protect and defend the land, air, water and soil from pollutants and to protest the company’s environmental and human rights record. Gathering with several dozen other community members, the group intentionally walked onto Shell’s property with the intention of stopping entry into the refinery.

Today’s action at Shell is in response to the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty’s call to non-violently rise up and challenge destructive practices corporate harms to the environment on each Solstice and Equinox. The group’s call is to act to ensure healthy air, water, soil, seeds and a safe climate so that life may continue.

“Humanity can live without fossil fuels.  We cannot live without clean air and water.  The oil industry is poisoning the air, water and climate that is necessary for life to exist.  State regulators have let us all down by irresponsibly allowing the oil industry to pollute the natural systems that were to be set aside for human existence.  We’re here today as grandmothers, mothers, aunts and allies to rise up for the future of life on Mother Earth,” said Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay, “Our actions are prayers for the future of life, for the safety of the refinery workers, and for the corporate directors to remember their place within the system of life.”

Citing concerns around a recent Shell pipeline spill in Northern California and the ever-deteriorating air quality of the Bay Area due to the “Refinery Corridor,” which the Martinez refinery is a part of, and ongoing concerns around the global climate, the group called for Indigenous women and their allies to join them in drawing the line to prevent more harms from destroying the environment that life needs to exist.

In late May, hazardous materials crews were sent to clean up as many as 21,000 gallons of oil after a Shell pipeline rupture in Tracy California. According to a 2012 study from Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) on particulate matter, called Understanding Particulate Matter: Protecting Public Health in the San Francisco Bay Area 1, the Shell and Tesoro refineries in Martinez, CA produce the most hazardous air pollutants (hap) per barrel of oil in the Bay Area refinery corridor. Shell’s Arctic drilling operations have been the subject of much environmental opposition in the Northwest over the past year. Finally, Shell has a long international record of human rights and environmental crimes from Nigeria to Ireland.

Protesters at today’s action said that Shell’s continued operations endanger communities, ecosystems and the climate locally in the Bay Area, regionally up and down the West Coast and abroad.

“I live in constant fear for the health and safety of my community,” said Adrian Wilson, who grew up in Contra Costa County and is taking action today at the gates of Shell. “It’s unfair for us to be exposed to this toxic air pollution. Like every good resident I just want to protect and provide for our safety.”

Groups organizing today’s event include Signers of the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty, Idle No More SF Bay and Diablo Rising Tide.

  1. BAAQMD. 2012. Summary of PM Report. Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Accessed 6/15/16.

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Idle No More SF Bay Area is a group of Native Americans and our allies rising up for the rights of Indigenous People, Mother Earth and the coming generations. You can learn more at https://www.facebook.com/INMSolidaritySF

The Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty is an historic treaty signed for the first time during UN Climate Week, September 2015.  There are over 100 signers of this treaty from North, Central and South America.

Diablo Rising Tide is the Bay Area chapter of Rising Tide North America network. Rising Tide is an all-volunteer climate network in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico who confront the root causes of climate change with protests, direct action, and grassroots organizing.The larger Rising Tide network spans four continents and works with activists in North and South America, Europe, and Australia.  You can learn more at www.diablorisingtide.org