Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA)

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Sacramento, United States

Climate Lobbying Overview: Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) are strategically engaged on climate policy with strongly negative positions, particularly on state-level policy in California, Washington and Oregon. The association does not seem to support the transition of the energy mix, emphasizing the importance of oil and gas to the economy and opposing measures to limit fossil fuel development.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: WSPA appears to be broadly unsupportive of progressive climate policy in its top-line messaging. The association voted to oppose the California Climate Crisis Act, which aimed to set a climate neutrality target of 2045 in the state, in a July 2021 hearing. On its corporate website, accessed in September 2021, WSPA appeared to support climate regulations, but maintained policy should be technology and fuel neutral, while advocating for market-based approaches over command-and-control ones. The association supports of a price on carbon, stating this on Twitter in March 2021. WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd stated support for the US rejoining the Paris Agreement in a January 2021 press release.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: WSPA has been highly opposed to specific climate regulations, particularly in California, Oregon and Washington states. Despite stating on its corporate website a preference for market-based policy approaches, including carbon taxes, WSPA strongly opposed carbon tax in Washington state in 2018. WSPA position on carbon emissions trading appears to be mixed. The association stated support for California’s cap-and-trade program in a 2020 press release, a position echoed by President Reheis-Boyd on Twitter in March 2021. However, comments submitted by WSPA in 2018 advocated for measures to weaken the California cap-and-trade program, along with a 2019 article in ProPublica suggested the association supported measures to weaken the carbon price, and opposed to measures to restrict free permits in the scheme. While a 2021 Seattle Times article stated, the organization remained neutral on changes to the cap-and-trade program to increase its effectiveness in Washington state.

Additionally, WSPA opposed AB 1218 on California's Motor Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards: Civil Penalty: Equitable Access to Zero-Emissions Vehicles Fund, which sets manufacturer standards for GHG emissions produced from new passenger vehicles, and light-duty trucks in April 2021. According to a March 2021 Seattle Times article, the association did not support Washington state’s clean fuels legislation, labelling the policy as costly and ineffective. In a 2019 press release, WSPA President Reheis-Boyd advocated against Oregon’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, stating that the policy was inefficient and ineffective.

Positioning on Energy Transition: WSPA does not appear to support the transition of the energy mix. On several occasions, the association has opposed legislation to ban new fossil fuels infrastructure and exploration. For example, a May 2021 press release opposed California Governor Newsom’s proposal to ban fracking (hydraulic fracturing) by 2024, and to end all oil extraction in the state by 2045. WSPA has also continually supported the long-term role of fossil fuels in the energy mix, without placing clear conditions on CCS or methane emission abatement. A March 2021 Desert Sun article suggested the association also opposed lawsuits against ordinances intended to fast-track development of fossil fuels in Kern County, California. WSPA also opposed plans to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure in Washington state, according to the Guardian in July 2021.

WSPA appears to be unsupportive of the decarbonization of the transport sector. The association has opposed several legislative proposals in California including, including in an April 2021 hearing on AB 1218 which a target for 100% of new passenger and light-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emission vehicles from 2035, and measures to transition the transport sector in its comments on the Revised Draft 2020 Mobile Source Strategy in May 2021.