tv Washington Journal Michael Mishak Discusses California Oil Industry... CSPAN March 11, 2017 9:06am-9:37am EST
committee markup of the health care bill. >> this is one of the most important things we are going to vote on this year and it's rushed through. we don't have all the details. this is why we are so disgruntled. >> c-span programs are available at www.c-span.org and by searching the video library. >> washington journal continues. week spotlight on magazines, we are joined by michael mishak, an investigative reporter. he wrote a piece in the nation magazine. thanks for being with us. the thrust of the piece is more than any other special-interest, the oil industry has reshaped california. guest: when you think about an
industry like oil, one thing you think of is deep pockets. to oil industry has had operate in a state that has taken a more aggressive approach to climate change and the environment than any other state or in -- state. in reshaping the political landscape, it has spent more than any other interest, $122 million, on lobbying, campaign contributions, and setting up what is the effect of super pac's in california to support not necessarily republicans who the kind of moved into irrelevancy column in california, they have packed moderate democrats that are from moreentral valley, a
centrist region. they have backed moderate democrats from the more urban sections of los angeles and major cities where you have things like refineries. in the central value have a oil fields where all of the crude oil is produced. they may be democrats, but they are more business friendly and closer to industry. industry has spent a considerable amount of money to cultivate relationships there. host: i'm going to read a bit from your article. california is the last place one would expect big oil to hold sway. they have passed some of the toughest energy regulations and set new goals to cut gas emissions. king.was
today, california is the third biggest oil-producing state behind texas and north dakota. $122il has spent more than million on lobbying to boost production and mold energy policy. focused on the weakening of regulatory agencies. -- whenhe beginning jerry brown game -- came into office, there was an oil boom. oil was $100 a barrel and companies wanted to wrap up production. there was a permitting process they had to go through. they saw that as being too intensive, taking too long to get drilling up and going. regulators said that was necessary in order to protect not just the environment but
worker safety. through as i mentioned an aggressive lobbying campaign, they were able to get to regulators fired and replaced with more favorable regulators, more industry friendly regulators. that permitting was streamlined to the point that many more permits were issued. was a victory for the industry. problemser, it created for the state given that there the some issues with permits that were issued. basically done in a way where oil drilling was allowed into protected sources
of underground water. this was against what the regulators who had been fired warned against. host: you mentioned governor jerry brown. this sounds offbrand for him. if you do a google search for him, you get headlines like this one. is this a misnomer to say he is a champion on this issue? guest: no. he has taken a nuanced approach. politicians and politics are a product of their time. i think that if you look at governor brown, he has a strong record going back to the 1970's. he was known as governor moonbeam for his otherworldly views on everything from the environment to tech knowledge he
-- technology. when he came into office, he was elected to his third term in 2010, california had double-digit unemployment, had a massive budget deficit. he has cared about the environment, but the economy was his top issue at that time. as you pointed out, most people don't know that california has silicon valley and hollywood and those of the industries the get press, oil is a massive industry and brown saw this demand from oil oil permits and that meant jobs in a better economy. i think there was a consideration there. he has talked about this. he had to balance the economic
need with the environment. is ourichael mishak guest. is (202)for democrats 748-8000. the line for republicans is (202) 784-8001. the independent line is (202) 748-8002. thank you for your patience. caller: good morning. i have an observation to make that all of these people coming to washington, they don't do anything. they just gather together. you've got people wearing pussycats. to sanet's move ahead antonio texas. caller: good morning. california has as much oil as texas.
i just understand why don't use more oil. they are environmentally friendly and all that. it doesn't make sense to have and beg budget deficits going bankrupt as california is. i do not understand why they don't jump on and have more jobs -- be more productive and economically sound and feasible. there are so many clean ways to get oil now. it's not like the old days. oil is way down below the water tables and stuff. contaminationk of like the old days as much.
don'tunderstand why they cap their resources. i guess that's all i've got to say. -- : guest: what i would say to that is this is something as i outlined in the story, most people would be surprised that governor brown agrees with you. that he didview streamline regulations to allow more drilling to occur and in his first term, for the first time in the better part of two decades, california's oil production increased. it had been steadily declining since the mid-90's. governor brown did take policy changes to spur that energy production.
while other states such as new had headband fracking -- banned fracking, he passed a law to regulate it. he did allow it while other states have taken other avenues. int: we've got mark calling from california on the independent line. caller: thank you for taking my call. this is ever brown's last year. -- governor brown's last year. i think we would get a good progressive governor in california to banned fracking. ban fracking. the water coming out of southern california, they are putting it
where we grow vegetables and fruit. it's ridiculous that we don't have a ban on fracking in california. major pollutions in southern california and in the bay area as everybody has seen. in southern california on the mountain that we store different gas, it was and going up in the air for months. we don't need that in california. california is a progressive state. brown figuredor this was his last go around and
he was going to take the money and run. thank god we are going to get a progressive in california as governor and attorney general. thank you very much. seventhia is the largest economy in the world. we don't need it to go down. we needed to go up and become the sixth or the fifth. this is ridiculous to have fracking in california and destroy our fruits and vegetables. thank you very much. that definitely betweents the tension governor brown's first term in second term. -- and second term.
a moreted talking in underscored way about climate change and the urgency of climate change. having a more aggressive goal to meet that. vivid anda definite emphasis as he moved into his final term. it as you point out -- as you point out, this is the final year of his tenure and certainly moving into the next campaign, the candidates will have to talk about which policies they would like to continue if they want to make any tweaks to that. there is a big debate in the legislature right now about the cap and trade program, the program that allows polluters
primarily oil companies and refineries to purchase permits in order to pollute and that money goes to offset some of that pollution with renewable energy projects and infrastructure and mass transit and things like that. there are a lot of progressives and environmentalists that would like to see stricter approaches to the environment and that will play out. stories ofell the people affected by the industry. you tell the stories and great detail. even in oil worker died fell into a sinkhole. an oil worker who died falling into a sinkhole. do regular people have any recourse? guest: sure they do. as is often the case and was the
case that you mentioned, legal recourse is the recourse. i think that for the case of the farmer, there was a farmer that againstged in a lawsuit the oil companies that the activity and the permits and the drilling that was allowed was done in a way that shortcut or circumvented some of the requirements they were protecting. he noticed his orchard slowly died. ands seeking compensation address that through the courts. also the family of the oil worker that died in an oil field a dangerous form
of oil extraction that was at the heart of debate over safety, over permitting, they also sued oil companies in court over that. recourse, aerms of lot of public interest groups and environmental troops do not have the resources and the lobbying might that the industry has. arguments gor toward public health and that is what we saw in the last session or two. the ability of the industry and public interest groups to get the ear of a lot of moderates that i mentioned and mount convincing arguments to them, that it makes economic sense as tol as public health sense
take a harder line or a stricter approach to some of these oil issues. host: we can take a couple of more calls. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you. i want one question. washingtonblicans in need clean water? i guess i would sort of argue that what you see playing out with north carolina or president trump in washington or california with governor jerry there is an issue of
energy production and the environment. inherent, there is an tension and there have been enoughs where precautions are not taken and we don't have effective regulation, there are circumstances where there can be environmental damage. in the case of the farmer i spoke to and is featured in the story, there can be the fallout of contaminated water, dying orchards, that's really the debate. that is the debate you see played out in washington with the trump administration. that played out in north carolina. what is the appropriate regulation?
what is the balance between protecting the environment and allowing for energy production. different states of taken different approaches. host: we have a republican calling in from springfield. question, does drillingnd grilling -- and testing bombs dislocate and does that cause a foundation problem that could cause earthquakes and the weather to change? this is bothered me for long time. i know the plates have to move. they have to cover the holes in the earth. that is my question. guest: that is a good question. really, it's a very relevant
question in a place like california which is very earthquake prone. the biggest example of this we have seen is oklahoma. there has been a lot of oil activity and drilling in that state and the frequency of up.hquakes has really shot regulatorsicials and are trying to address exactly what you are talking about with injection,round isre is a lot of waste that created as a result of the process. the water needs to go somewhere. what industry and government has agreed upon, this underground injection that you referred to where they inject wastewater
from the drilling process deep underground and it is supposed to be into deep reservoirs where that waste is contained and will not do damage, whether it's contaminated water or whether any kind ofing seismic activity. i think that is an issue that people are trying to figure out now. there is an aspect to this that you mentioned in your story. environmentalist failed to build relationships with the communities of color and that allowed the oil industry to step in and influence the debate. think what you have in a solid bluew is state.
it's a democratic state. it's only going to get more blue. then it divide in the politics -- the divide in politics breaks along the wider more affluent areas versus the inland areas. along racial and economic lines. the environmental community has largely cultivated relations based in places like santa monica, places the 10 to be more affluent. those are the lawmakers that represent those areas. solved --il industry in areasepresentatives
like carson and wilmington in los angeles where there are a lot of refineries. you have lawmakers in the central valley. these are latino lawmakers it represent areas where you have a lot of oil production. this is where the business is connected to oil and the industry sought to feed campaign contributions and contribute to the pet causes of these lawmakers to contribute to the african-american and latino caucuses and build relationships . when you saw the debates take place in the legislature, you could really see how those relationships pay off and the supportive of industry and very business friendly. host: we have chris calling in
from tennessee. california seems to be at the forefront of the oil use. i think they should start a divest where they should in oil usage. see how that works for them. guest: i would say governor brown and democrats in california -- i will about divesting completely of oil. think there would be residents of los angeles that might have issue with that. the problem is california is in --ar driven place here
place. it's a massive place. you're talking about tens of millions of people. i think that balance between how do i manage a massive oil with some of the more progressive environmental goals you are talking about. host: in talking about the money that big oil spends, is there anything that suggests a link between donations and the regulations? what you often have in politics is a chronology. of the in terms contributions and the official actions, this is the way politics works. is afteran say
governor brown fired a couple of regulators in his first term industry, atder on that time he was pursuing a political goal of passing a tax increase in california to balance the budget. measureis own ballot and was soliciting contributions from the business community to support that. what we know is these firings took place and after that, the companiesry, many oil contributed to his tax campaign. we also know in terms of looking .t the political contributions in 2015, there was a measure
advanced by governor brown in his state of the state speech to cut oil consumption by 50%. this was a very bold goal in a place like california with a lot of cars. during that time and the lead up to where that legislation was debated, there were a lot of contributions to the moderate democrats i referred to. this is the process. this is the way things work. i don't think it's any secret in termsontributions of lawmakers supports who they do. the positions those lawmakers take have typically been much more industry friendly. host: this is our final call this segment. caller: good morning.
just a couple of questions. i'm sure you are an expert. sinkhole thata cost somebody their life. is that from oil drilling? i don't believe a sinkhole from that. which of the oil companies was responsible for the horrible pollution, the la brea tar pits. added to the base that was supposed to cut down on carbon monoxide. it was outlawed because it contaminated groundwater. can you tell me what state it was.
thank you. to thewith reference sinkhole and the accident that cost and oil worker his life, that was the result of a type of oil extraction called steaming. typically oil drilling does go deeper. this type of extraction is unique to california's geology and it is much shallower than what you would do with other types of drilling. groundect steam into the and that breaks up rocks and releases this oil which has been flowing into the well. that explains the sinkhole. it's a much shallower environment. to the additives or
that may havewed, been a california case as well. is anel mishak-800 investigative reporter. thank you so much for your time. coming up, we're taking your calls. give us a call. the line for democrats is (202) 748-8000. the line for republicans is (202) 784-8001. the independent line is (202) 748-8002. you can always reach us on twitter and facebook. week, news