"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

February 01, 2007

California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, has been bought off by Chevron Oil:

What a difference a junket makes

Speaker Núñez suggested yesterday that energy companies could be allowed to pass the costs for developing alternative fuels on to consumers. That's quite a change from the position he took last summer as a primary backer of Proposition 87, the November ballot measure that would have required oil companies to fund alternative energy development.

So what happened? The Copacabana happened.

After the November election, in which Prop 87 succumbed to $100 million of oil industry advertisements, Núñez took a luxury junket to South America, staying at five-star hotels including the Copa where he rubbed elbows (and shared sunscreen?) with Chevron and other energy company lobbyists. The trip was billed as an opportunity to review strategies to reduce carbon emissions and develop alternative fuels. One of the few "working days" of the two week vacation was dedicated to workshops run by Chevron.

Today's shift toward making consumers rather than oil companies pay to develop alternative fuels is not the Speaker's first post-junket gesture to the energy companies. Last week, though he’d never before expressed support for controversial Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, the Speaker opened the door, saying the environmental community needs "to take another look at LNG." Chevron and other big energy firms have been harboring LNG fantasies in California for several years.

Núñez’s morphing positions are moving him down the line from environmental champion to oil & energy industry water boy. Chevron, et al, have the alternative energy vacation in paradise to thank.

by Carmen Balber

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