In the presence of lawmakers and local leaders at the rotunda of the California State Capitol, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Tuesday to establish the most stringent state-level supervision and accountability protocols on Big Oil in the country. The new measures will introduce transparency to California’s oil and gas sector, shedding light on corporations that have conducted their operations clandestinely, unfairly exploiting families and generating unprecedented profits.
The Governor has, on numerous occasions, successfully challenged the historically dominant industry’s focus on maximizing profits at the expense of people. In the previous year, he authorized legislation that necessitated oil refiners to disclose additional data and a statute that safeguarded neighborhoods and schools from oil drilling.
Governor Newsom stated that “With this legislation, we’re ending the oil industry’s days of operating in the shadows. California took on Big Oil and won. We’re not only protecting families, we’re also loosening the vice grip Big Oil has had on our politics for the last 100 years.”
Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) co-sponsored a bill with Attorney General Rob Bonta to create an independent watchdog to prevent oil companies from price gouging. The bill, SBx1-2, was approved by a supermajority in both the Senate and Assembly and will go into effect on June 26. The California Energy Commission (CEC) will be authorized to create a penalty to hold the industry accountable.
This new law will require greater transparency and oversight from the oil industry, and it will enable the state to receive more information than ever before. Any violation of the law, including industry misconduct or market manipulation, will be closely monitored by the independent watchdog division and referred to the Attorney General for prosecution.
HOW WILL IT IMPACT CONSUMERS AND BIG OIL?
For consumers, this means that they will be protected from price gouging by oil companies. The independent watchdog will ensure that the industry is held accountable for any wrongdoing, and consumers will benefit from greater transparency and oversight. For oil companies, this means that they will need to comply with the new law and be prepared to face penalties if they engage in price gouging or any other form of misconduct.
CAN THE NEW LEGISLATION RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN GAS PRICES?
It is unlikely that the California bill SBx1-2 will increase the price of oil directly. The bill is aimed at preventing price gouging by oil companies and increasing transparency and oversight of the industry. It authorizes the creation of an independent watchdog to monitor the industry and hold it accountable for any wrongdoing. While the law may lead to increased costs for the oil industry to comply with the new regulations, it is not expected to result in a direct increase in the price of oil.