California Senate leader asked for Obama’s help on climate bill in 2015

by Matt Fleming | October 21, 2016 3:33 pm

Kevin De Leon, Jerry BrownKnowing that a major climate-change measure was in trouble, Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon sought help from the White House in 2015, according to a WikiLeaks email dump on Thursday.

A transcript of a voicemail for John Podesta — at the time a top adviser to Obama — shows the Los Angeles Democrat asking if the president could mention Senate Bill 350 during a then-upcoming speech on clean energy in Nevada.

“Appreciate you taking my call,” de Leon said, according to the transcript[1]. “Appreciate you telling me that the President will be in LV on Monday. It’s his hope [sic] that the President can make some sort of announcement in support of 350 or in support of what we’re trying to do in the legislature.”

SB350 — which requires an 50 percent increase of usage of renewable electricity in the state by the end of 2030 — was signed into law, but it faced tremendous opposition from the oil industry, which successfully lobbied against a petroleum-restriction provision that was ultimately dropped.

“Oil companies have been trying to defeat the bill,” de Leon said. “Targets are the African Americans in the lower house.” 

The oil lobby targeted business-friendly Democrats of all races in the Assembly, according to disclosures and media reports. A de Leon spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for clarification.

However, de Leon did get his wish. At the National Clean Energy Summit on August 25, 2015, Obama praised[2] California’s efforts on SB350. 

“Leaders in California are aiming to generate 50 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2030 — 50 percent,” Obama said. 

  1. according to the transcript:
  2. praised:

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