Meet The Activists Fighting To Remove Big Oil From California Politics

In the days since Donald Trump was elected president, California governor Jerry Brown has emerged as a sort of new-wave agitator. He’s directly opposed, even mocked, the president’s stance on climate change and pushed California’s clean energy, pro-science agenda. This brand of “resistance” has been applauded by the New York Times, The Atlantic, and many Californians — residents of a liberal-leaning state with a booming economy. But in his efforts to get the state’s massive budget on track, Brown has compromised long-held environmental ideals — particularly when it comes to rolling back regulations on big oil.

On February 6th, 2017, Consumer Watchdog rated Brown “dirty” on the issues of oil drilling, fossil fuel generated electricity, toxic emissions, and his adherence to the California Environmental Quality Act. An LA Times investigation into California’s energy industry found that the state spends billions on power it doesn’t need. The cost of running these surpluses are transferred to consumers, while the energy companies get rich. (Companies with which Brown has murky familial and political ties — his sister has an equity stake in Forestar group, a fracking outfit responsible for a record-setting methane leak).

In this episode of Uproxx Reports, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, takes us to a protest in Sacramento led by Oil Money Out. There, activists marched and held signs in front of the governor’s mansion, demanding that Brown’s administration distance itself from the mega-powerful oil lobby, which spent $36M in California in 2016 alone. In doing so, Martinez and other environmental advocates are shedding light on how money props up a fossil fuel that’s tied to wars, illness, and ecological destruction.

“We have a lot of technologies that allow us to not be dependent on oil,” says David Braun, director of Oil Money Out. “Imagine if we had the same communications technology that we had 100 years ago? It’s preposterous.”