$2 Million To Pollute California, Not a Dime For the Gulf

As the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico intensifies, the rest of the oil industry is sitting on the sidelines. Instead of helping clean up the Gulf, many of them are busy spending their money trying to pollute California.

15 oil companies have combined to spend about $2 million to undermine our anti-pollution laws by trying to place a repeal of AB 32 on the November ballot. Led by Valero, Tesoro, and Occidental, they prefer undermining California’s effort at creating clean energy and green jobs to helping clean up after what their industry has done in the Gulf.

The Courage Campaign – where I work as Public Policy Director – doesn’t think that’s right. We are today launching a campaign to demand that instead of spending $2 million to the attack on California’s anti-pollution laws, the CEOs of Valero, Tesoro, and Occidental instead pledge to spend $2 million on Gulf cleanup and restoration. You can add your name to our letter and show these oil CEOs that we’re not going to stand for their attack on our environment.

During Hurricane Katrina, Wal-Mart helped fund relief and recovery efforts, so there is precedent for other industries getting involved. Yes, this is BP’s responsibility. But the oil industry as a whole helped undermine the regulations and enabled the Deepwater Horizon disaster to occur.

In fact, while entire industries are being destroyed, thousands made jobless, and unknown numbers of animal and plant life are being killed, Valero and Tesoro gave another $400,000 to the Dirty Energy Proposition on May 19.

It’s time California stood up to these big oil companies and told them to get their priorities straight. Click here to sign our letter, which we will deliver to the CEOs of Valero, Tesoro and Occidental.

Below is the email we sent to our members today.

We learned something important in Tuesday’s election: Voters can stop greedy corporations from ruining California.

By defeating Prop 16 and 17, we beat back two of California’s largest corporations — PG&E and Mercury Insurance — and stopped them from buying our democracy and destroying consumer protections. The November general election is around the corner, and on that ballot will be an effort by some of America’s largest companies to pollute California the way BP has polluted the Gulf of Mexico.

Read on to find out one way you can help stop them before the November election.

Dear Robert —

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, nearly everyone pitched in to help. Even Wal-Mart lent its vaunted logistics expertise to the devastated Gulf Coast.

Now, in a man-made disaster more insidious than Katrina, the oil industry that chomps at the drilling bit to pump crude from any crevice without regard to consequence, sits idly by, unwilling to lift so much as a pen to help clean up the oil destroying the Gulf.

Worse still, Valero Oil, Tesoro Oil and Occidental Petroleum — along with 12 other oil companies — have put up more than $2 million to pass an initiative that would effectively kill AB 32, California’s landmark green economy and clean air legislation, and pollute our state.

One of the reasons I stopped working for Occidental — or “Oxy,” as a lot of folks call them — 20 years ago was because they were not responsible to their shareholders or community.

And now, amidst the worst ecological disaster in American history and the crippling of the Gulf Coast’s economy, Bill Klesse, Greg Goff and Ray Irani — the CEOs of Valero, Tesoro and Oxy — are arrogantly bankrolling a huge campaign to bring even more pollution to California.

That’s why the Courage Campaign is calling on Valero, Tesoro and Oxy to donate at least the same amount — $2 million — to clean up the Gulf and help thousands of families whose lives have been ruined by the oil spill. Click here to add your name to our letter to  the CEOs — Klesse, Goff and Irani — now:


With BP’s oil slick reaching the Florida coast, costing thousands of jobs and killing hundreds of animals daily, Valero and Tesoro reported spending another $400,000 last week on their Dirty Energy Proposition to pollute California. Along with Oxy, these three oil companies are among the top 100 polluters in America.

Who can stop these greedy oil company executives from polluting California? You.

In April, the Courage Campaign and CREDO Action launched a boycott of Valero gas stations in protest of their funding of the Dirty Energy Proposition. To date, more than 40,000 Californians have signed up and are participating in the Valero boycott.

Now it’s time to hold the oil industry accountable. Join us and add your name to the Courage Campaign’s letter we’ll deliver to the CEOs of Valero, Tesoro and Oxy. Tell them it’s time to spend $2 million to clean up the Gulf, instead of $2 million to pollute California:


If Wal-Mart can spend millions to help Gulf Coast residents after Katrina, then Valero, Oxy and Tesoro can pitch in $2 million to help Gulf Coast residents and clean up BP’s oil spill.

Thank you for standing up for California’s future — and the future of our country and the world.

Rick Jacobs

Chair, Courage Campaign, and former executive at Occidental Petroleum

3 thoughts on “$2 Million To Pollute California, Not a Dime For the Gulf”

  1. Everyone should sign this letter.  Let’s hit them with an extraction tax too while we’re at it.

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