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October 29, 2020

Bloomberg Law: Sen. Feinstein Pushes SoCalGas on Fossil Fuel Transition

By: Catherine Larkin October 29, 2020


Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nanette Barragan ask Southern California Gas Co. to respond to reports that it has undermined the state’s transition from fossil fuels.


In a letter to SoCalGas on Thursday, the Democratic lawmakers say a report by the California Public Utilities Commission shows SoCalGas has lobbied against the zero-emission vehicle mandate and increased efficiency standards for home furnaces.


Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Nanette Barragán have demanded answers from the CEO of Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) over attempts to “systematically undermine” California’s climate policy.


In a scathing letter sent yesterday (29th October), California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Nanette Barragán are calling for answers from America’s largest gas utility following years of reporting that exposes unlawful and unethical activity designed to stymy California’s climate policies in favour of polluting fossil fuels.


Lawmakers are questioning SoCalGas over their efforts to mislead regulators over its alleged use of ratepayer funds to set up and operate a front group, Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions; recruiting and paying influential leaders from communities of colour to lobby against the interest of California’s port communities to score wins for natural gas vehicles over emissions-free vehicles; improperly lobbying against efficiency standards that would save Californians money while reducing pollution; and their efforts to duck and stall open investigations from the Public Advocates Office as the watchdog attempts to gain a full view of the unlawful activity by SoCalGas to derail climate policies.

“In a year where climate change is wreaking havoc on Californians’ lives, SoCalGas has been actively undermining the state’s clean energy progress” said representatives of Earthjustice and the Sierra Club.


“Only once you step back and connect the dots of greedy lawsuits, astroturfing, and lobbying against clean energy policies can you truly see how SoCalGas has been a reckless force in California” said Matt Vespa, clean energy attorney on Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign. “Senator Feinstein and Representative Barragán are doing the right thing for our state in demanding answers from SoCalGas.”


Evan Gillespie, director of the Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign, added that, for years, California regulators have allowed SoCalGas’ ongoing and egregious attempts to mislead the public and undermine the state’s climate laws to continue.


“We urge California leaders to join Senator Feinstein and Representative Barragán in standing up to fossil fuel manipulation tactics by demanding accountability” said Mr Gillespie. “California regulators should investigate the extent to which companies like SoCalGas, in partnership with the American Gas Association, are subverting public processes and the law to put their own short term profits over public health.”


Full article here.