Help Resuscitate SB 246 Oil And Gas Tax

2020 Oil Stain – CA Dirty Crude 2017         2020 Oil and Gas Tax Sample Letter

Also see following article: California Oil Among World’s Dirtiest

By Doug Brooms, ZWAC Chair and Portia Sinnott, Editor
Despite being an oil and gas producing state for over a century, California is purported to be the only one out of 34 oil and gas extraction states without ever having a severance tax. Since the 1990s, there had been at least five successive oil and gas tax Bills that had been introduce in the California Legislature, but were derailed.

In 2019, SB 246 “Oil and Gas Severance Tax” by Senator Bob Weizkowski and Senator Ben Allen, would have imposed a 10 percent oil and gas severance tax levy on oil producers. The revenue derived would have gone into the state’s general fund.

SB 246 was introduced 2/11/19, but never advanced out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. The Bill was amended 1/6/20 and languished again in the committee chaired by Mike McGuire, but again did not advance before the 1/31/20 deadline for 2-year Bills.

The Bill had the support of no less than 18 organizations. The SB 246 Fact Sheet and the then SB 246 Sample Support Letter provided compelling justifications for the tax, but neither had mentioned anything regarding the additional benefits to Climate Change mitigation.

The 2020 Oil and Gas Tax Sample Letter, was crafted mostly by doing cut and paste from a number of online articles on Oil and Climate Change. The articles below were sent to a legislative assistant to Senator Wieckowski. The reply was that unfortunately the bill is effectively dead, and that Senator Wieckowski will not be reintroducing the bill nor actively soliciting other members to pick up the mantle.

The eight members of the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies could likely be more receptive to the resurrection or revision of a likewise Bill, preferably for 2020, with a better chance of navigating through committees. Please use these documents to prepare a persuasive request to resuscitate SB 246 and them to your Senator and the members of the aforementioned committee.

Rampant Oil Production Undermines State’s Climate Leadership
Center for Biological Diversity, 11/2017
Three-quarters of California’s oil is as climate-damaging as Canadian tar sands crude, according to a Center for Biological Diversity report released today at the United Nations climate change conference in Bonn, Germany.

Oil Stain: How Dirty Crude Undercuts California’s Climate Progress found that eight of the state’s 10 largest-producing oil fields produce very dirty crude with greenhouse gas emissions comparable to tar sands oil. The report detailed how the state’s dirty oil problem is compounded by policies that incentivize crude production.

… Despite the climate and public-health harms of its oil extraction, California is currently the third-largest oil-producing state. Tax breaks, weak regulation and minimal oversight encourage aggressive oil development in the state. California regulators issued more than 3,300 drilling permits for oil and gas wells in 2015 alone. []