In a scathing letter sent to the CEO of Southern California Gas Company today, California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Nanette Barragán are calling for answers from the nation’s largest gas utility following years of reporting that exposes unlawful and unethical activity designed to stymy California’s climate policies in favor of pollution 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 color 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 response, representatives from Earthjustice and the Sierra Club released the following statements:
“In a year where climate change is wreaking havoc on Californians’ lives, SoCalGas has been actively undermining the state’s clean energy progress. 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.”
“For years, California regulators have allowed SoCalGas’ ongoing and egregious attempts to mislead the public and undermine our climate laws to continue,” said Evan Gillespie, director of the Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign. “We urge California leaders to join Senator Feinstein and Representative Barragán in standing up to fossil fuel manipulation tactics by demanding accountability. 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.”