elections

How Dominion Energy, Fracked Gas Giant, Lost Big in Virginia Election

By David Pomerantz, crossposted from Energy and Policy Institute

Virginia’s top corporate political contributor, Dominion Energy, had a rough night last night, as at least 14 candidates who pledged not to accept money from the monopoly utility won seats in a surprise wave election for Democrats.

Depending on official counts that may take days or weeks, Democrats will likely tie Republicans with a 50-50 split in Virginia’s House of Delegates, leading to a share of power, though they may still control the chamber outright depending on the results of recounts.

Jordan Cove LNG Backers Spend Huge Money to Sway Tiny Oregon County Election

No LNG signs, opposing Jordan Cove LNG project

Two weeks ahead of an Oregon county special election, backers of the multi-billion dollar Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project are spending an additional $236,500 to prevent that vote from halting the proposed fossil fuel project.

That’s on top of the $359,000 the LNG project’s proponents had previously spent in an attempt to defeat the ballot measure, 6-162, in Coos County, Oregon, which reportedly has roughly 41,000 registered voters. 

How Much Are Fossil Fuel Interests Spending to Sway Your Vote for Congress?

Circle of dollar bills.

Are your Congressional representatives up for reelection this year? How much money have they taken from fossil fuel interests this election cycle? And what about their opponents — are they any better, or are they taking dirty energy money too?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to head on over to NoFossilFuelMoney.org, a new online tool created by ClimateTruth Action to track contributions from the fossil fuel sector — which includes oil and gas companies, electric utilities, coal mining companies, and related businesses — to both congressional incumbents and challengers.

Ohio Residents Clash With State and County Government in Fight to Ban Fracking via the Ballot

Protesters march down an Ohio street carrying anti-fracking signs.

For years, local Ohioans have been told by courts and elected officials that they have no control over fracking — “it is a matter of state law.”

However, groups of determined residents are refusing to accept this argument, taking steps to establish local democratic control over what they see as vital societal questions of health, safety, and planetary survival. But not without resistance from their own governments.

Oil-Funded Groups Have Spent $2.7 Million To Defeat California Candidates Who Want Climate Action

Groups funded largely by oil companies have spent $2.7 million in California to defeat candidates for the state legislature who support strong climate action.

The groups are targeting lawmakers who supported S.B. 32 and S.B. 350, both pieces of legislation designed to rein in California’s greenhouse gas emissions and boost adoption of renewable energy technologies, E&E Publishing’s Greenwire reported.

S.B. 350, which was signed into law last year by Governor Jerry Brown, requires California to get 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and double the energy efficiency of existing buildings by 2030. S.B. 32, which did not pass, would have required the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

“Oil companies are trying to push back” against renewable energy and other efforts to decarbonize California’s economy, Mike Young, California League of Conservation Voter's associate director for campaigns and organizing, told Greenwire. “You're seeing an industry that is very concerned about losing its monopoly.”

Oil Companies Spending Big To Defeat Community-Led Anti-Fracking Initiatives At The Ballot Box

Election day is fast approaching and, in a pattern becoming all too familiar, oil companies are spending big to defeat citizen-led initiatives to halt fracking in California.

By last August, oil industry front group Californians for Energy Independence, which is leading the charge against anti-fracking measures in the sate, had raised around $3 million. Now, just one week before the election, that number has more than doubled to just under $7.7 million, per the California Secretary of State's campaign finance database.

Chevron is the leading donor to Californians for Energy Independence, having made two donations totaling about $2.6 million. Occidental Petroleum and Aera Energy have kicked in some $2 million apiece, and Exxon has given $300,000. Every single dollar received by CEI has come from an oil company.

Once the polls close, we'll know how well that money was spent. One thing is clear, however: Big Oil has not succeeded in buying the hearts and minds of many Californians, who overwhelmingly reject the plans to frack the Golden State, polls have shown.

Residents of Santa Barbara County will vote on Measure P on November 4, a ballot initiative that would ban fracking and other “extreme oil extraction techniques,” including cyclic steam injection and acidization. Lauren Hanson, who serves on the Goleta Water District Board of Directors, wrote in an op-ed for the Santa Barbara Independent:

When a single industry — whatever that industry might be — proposes bringing into Santa Barbara County a massive amount of activity that has time and again contaminated and used up water supplies elsewhere, it is time for extreme caution and, yes, common sense. It makes no sense to allow that risk.

Coal Booster McCain all spin no substance on job promises

One day to go and McCain (R-AZ) is re-branding himself the “coal booster” in a last ditch effort to pick up some support in coal States like Pennsylvania.

In a speech yesterday at the University of Scranton, PA, McCain stated that:

My friends, I’ve been a coal booster and it’s going to create jobs, and we’re going to export coal to other countries and we are going to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. That’s going to help restore the economy of the great state of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Round 3 of the Debates: Who Wants Energy Independence More?

In what proved to be a doozy of a debate – not so much for its substance as for its theatrics and sound bites (who will ever forget “Joe the Plumber”?) – the topic of climate change was again sadly, though not surprisingly, missing in action.

With the discussion once again focused mostly on domestic issues – the economy and healthcare looming large – the candidates spent most of the time pummeling each other on taxes, trade policies and education. Mercifully, moderator Bob Schieffer, a CBS News anchor, mostly managed to avoid inserting himself into the debate, save for occasionally pressing a candidate on a particular question (though I noticeably winced when he said the words “climate control”).

Change your leaders: Take II

Congratulations today to Stephen Harper, who has convinced a critical plurality of Canadians that he is more capable of leading the country through difficult economic times than Liberal leader Stephane Dion would have been.

Returning to belligerent reality, however, it's clear that Canadians who care about climate change have their work cut out for them. In his excellent new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman says:

“It is much more important to change your leaders than your lightbulbs.”

Having passed up this opportunity to change our leaders, the only option now is for Canadians to get those leaders to change.

Jack Layton: Captain of the team to re-elect Stephen Harper

If Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper is re-elected next week as Canadian prime minister, he will owe the biggest vote of gratitude to the New Democratic Party and its leader Jack Layton.

There has been comment enough about the lack-luster performance of Harper's most dangerous opponent, Liberal leader Stephane Dion, but the Liberals aren't losing this election because Dion lacks charisma. The Liberals are losing because the NDP has pushed tax-averse voters into Stephen Harper's lap.

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