Oil industry and power company executives have begun a European jaunt in the company of California’s top energy policy officials. It’s billed as a “policy study” on how Europe implements greenhouse gas restrictions. But giving Big Oil that much private face time with the people who will write the state’s greenhouse gas regulations is always reason to worry.
Eleven state officials, from Cal-EPA, the state Energy Commission, the governor’s office, the Public Utilities Commission and the state Air Resources Board, among others, joined twelve corporate executives – including from BP, Chevron, Shell Oil and Occidental, on the 9-day jaunt to Europe that started yesterday. The trip is sponsored by the California Climate Action Registry, which receives funding from BP.
This isn’t Chevron’s first turn with the same state officials. Its "government affairs" chief, Jack Coffey, and the California Energy Commission’s Jackalynne Pfannenstiel took a turn around South America together on a similar ‘study trip’ last November.
As oil giants sign up for a registry to track their emissions, then stymie real efforts to contain them, the state shouldn’t be giving them 9 days of alone time over chocolates and Belgian coffee with the folks who will write the regulations to implement the state’s new greenhouse gas law.
It’s bad if the state is paying for its executives to schmooze with the oil crowd. And worse if the oil companies are even indirectly paying for the whole trip.
Read the list of attendees and their itinerary: The trip boasts one fancy hotel – the Conrad Hotel Brussels (the “Luxury Brand of the Hilton Family”) – where the cheapest single room (read: closet) is $265 and a suite is more than $2,300.
(Thanks to FTCR colleague Carmen for this tip)