Texas Oil Companies and Biased Studies vs. California’s Future

As reported by Capitol Alert yesterday, Valero has donated $500,000 to the effort to suspend AB 32 and force California to stop doing anything about global warming:

Valero Services Inc. donated $500,000 to fuel a signature-gathering drive aimed at qualifying an initiative for the November ballot to suspend Assembly Bill 32, signed into law several years ago.

Much of the remaining $466,000 also has been donated by oil companies, documents show….

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association contributed $100,000 to the effort, as well as three other oil companies – Tesoro Cos., Tower Energy Group and World Oil Corp., according to the documents filed with the secretary of state.

Donating lesser amounts were Southern Counties Oil Co. — doing business as Total Energy Products – $50,000; JACO Oil Co., $10,000; Lumber Association of California and Nevada political action committee, $5,000; and Roger Cohen, a retired physicist, $1,000.

This news comes on the heels of the Legislative Analyst’s Office slamming the so-called Varshney Study, which Meg Whitman and other right-wingers have been using to claim AB 32 would somehow hurt jobs. The LAO called the study “unreliable” and “essentially useless”, citing repeated instances of unsupportable biases in the estimates of AB 32’s costs and understating of its benefits.

This has the makings of a major scandal, since the study was authored by the dean of the Sac State business school, Sanjay Varshney, as mandated by a bill passed in 2006 seeking a public study of the impact of AB 32. Using taxpayer dollars to totally misrepresent the truth is deeply unethical, and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner is already calling for hearings into the matter.

In short, what these two stories show us is that wealthy oil companies and junk science are once again teaming up to try and pretend that either global warming isn’t real, or that even if it is, we shouldn’t do anything about it. What Valero and Varshney are both saying is that it’s more important to keep oil companies happy today than to prepare for a future where rising sea levels threaten the San Francisco Bay Area, the ports of LA-Long Beach, the state’s water supply, our agricultural and fishing industries, so on and so forth.