WSPA President Responds To Severance Tax Proposal

Editor’s note:  Tom Steyer, a hedge fund billionaire, is funding efforts to impose a severance tax on oil production in California. The following is a response from the President of Western States Petroleum Association

By Catherine Reheis-Boyd

Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire environmentalist, has launched a campaign to increase taxes on energy production in California. He thinks oil companies are allowed to “siphon California resources without providing any meaningful return to Californians.” Beginning an education campaign on inaccurate claims doesn’t bode well for the quality of the educational experience.

To claim Californians receive no meaningful return for the oilwe produce is puzzling. Oil companies in California generate $6 billion in tax revenues for state and local governments, according to an analysis by Purvin & Gertz in 2011.

While it’s true California does not have an oil severance tax per se, California taxes oil companies and oil production in a variety of other ways.

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Proposed SB4 Interim Regulations Posted

The California Department of Conservation (DOC) on December 11 gave public notice of proposed emergency rulemaking to establish interim regulations governing oil and gas well stimulation under SB4. The DOC expects the interim regulations to be effective January 1, 2014.

Industry and the public will have an opportunity to submit comments on the proposed rules later this month. Continue reading

Oil Exports Help Reduce U.S. Trade Deficit

America’s increase in oil and gas production, driven primarily by fracking of shale plays, is helping to lift the nation’s exports to an all-time high and reduce the trade deficit, according to figures released last week by the Department of Commerce.

The total trade gap fell to $40.6 billion in October, the latest month for which figures are available, down $2.4 billion from the prior month and down $2 billion from October of 2012. Continue reading

Public Input Sought on Well Stimulation EIR

The California Department of Conservation on November 27 issued an invitation for public input on the scope and content of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for statewide well stimulation activities, at five meetings to be held in December and January.

The EIR is mandated by SB 4. Once in draft form, the EIR will be circulated for specific comments on its analysis and conclusions. The revised schedule of dates and other details about the scoping meetings follows. For more information, visit

Chamber Set To Appeal Ruling on Cap-and-Trade Auctions

The California Chamber of Commerce is preparing to appeal a ruling by the Sacramento Superior Court in favor of the state’s Air Resources Board’s cap-and-trade auction.

Judge Timothy M. Frawley on Nov. 12 denied requests filed by the Chamber and the Pacific Legal Foundation to block the auctions. They had argued that the money collected via the auctions amounted to an unlawful tax, and that the ARB’s auctions were not authorized in the language of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB 32. Continue reading