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Photo: Richard Masoner

Oil Industry Money Buying Too Much Influence in California

, director, California & Western States

It’s been clear to a lot of people for a long time that there’s too much money in politics, and in California the statistics clearly indicate there is too much oil money in politics. Lobbying expenses by oil companies in California reached an astonishing $11 million from July through September of 2015. The third-quarter lobbying expenses paid for an expensive campaign this past summer by Big Oil to derail an oil-reduction provision in California’s ambitious climate legislation, SB 350 (De León and Leno). If that’s not startling enough, the oil industry has spent an eye-popping total of $17.7 million so far this year to influence California energy policies with three months still to go. That annual amount (which is bound to go up even more by year’s end) averages to $147,500 per legislator—a lot more than California’s 120 state senators and assembly members make in their annual salaries. Read more >

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Welcome to the Reign of King Tide: 10 Things to Know about This Week’s Tidal Flooding

, senior analyst, Climate & Energy Program

This week, the so-called “king tides” are rolling in atop elevated sea levels, courtesy of climate change, and the flooding is well underway. This morning, Charleston Harbor, SC saw what is reported to be among the highest water levels ever recorded there—higher than during Hurricane David in 1979, meteorologists said—and the resulting morning gridlock as roads flooded and were closed. Southeast Florida neighborhoods are flooding over a succession of high tides, not surprisingly. Flood warnings are in effect for the East, West and Gulf Coast locations and forecasts warn of flooding through the weekend in low-lying areas. Read more >

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Preparing for Sea Level Rise: This Is What Bipartisan Leadership Looks Like

, senior analyst, Climate & Energy Program

I spent this weekend with a bipartisan group of 40 elected officials from coastal communities around the country. There were 19 Republicans, 17 Democrats, and a handful of independents in the room, apparently, but people’s politics were all but invisible. On display was leadership in the face of a very big challenge. Read more >

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Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, and the Growing Risks of Storm Surge and Blackouts

, director of energy research, Clean Energy

Superstorm Sandy was a big wake-up call for the Northeast when it made landfall near Atlantic City, NJ, on October 29, 2012. In addition to the tragic loss of lives and property, Sandy caused billions of dollars of damages and left more than 8 million people in 21 states without power. On the third anniversary of Sandy, a new UCS analysis looks at what steps have been taken to make our electricity grid less vulnerable and more resilient to power outages from storm surge and coastal flooding on the East and Gulf Coasts. The answer? Some, but not enough. Read more >

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The House Science Committee’s Witch Hunt Against NOAA Scientists

, program manager, Center for Science & Democracy

We have long been suspicious of the House Science Committee’s expanded subpoena power. The evidence now demonstrates that the committee is using this new authority not to conduct effective oversight but to harass those who produce robust scientific analysis it refuses to accept. Read more >

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