British Petroleum’s shadow in Sacramento

June 1, 2010

Chances are if you think of the word oil, what comes to mind is the massive environmental tragedy in the Gulf Coast, off Louisiana. Which means you’re also thinking about British Petroleum (BP), the company currently facing international criticism for the way it has been handling the leaking underwater oil well situation.

Lobbying reports filed in Sacramento by the international oil giant reveal a growing presence in California politics–though not a dominant one. [California Watch]

Since the start of the 2009-2010 legislative session, BP has spent about $700,000, lobbying everyone from the governor to the Public Utilities Commission. Observers say the oil giant’s political agenda includes issues relating to pollution control, energy efficiency standards, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Throughout the last decade, BP was a major political player in California, pumping $3.8 million into various election campaigns, including $75,000 to then-Governor Gray Davis.

BP’s biggest campaign in California came in 2006, when it spent $3 million to defeat Proposition 87, a voter initiative intended to replace diesel school buses with vehicles powered by alternative fuels.

Currently, BP gives out about $10,000 in free tickets each year for Kings basketball games to legislative staffers in Sacramento–the  value of each ticket is around $170. Staffers were also guests of BP at both a concert by Metallica and a Disney on Ice show.

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So what else is new? WE really need campaign finance reform.