Californians for Affordable & Reliable Energy (CARE)

Californians for Affordable & Reliable Energy (CARE)

Background

Californians for Affordable & Reliable Energy (CARE) describes itself as a “broad-based coalition of small businesses, community groups, local business organizations, and statewide associations that are calling on policymakers to prioritize affordability and working Californians when making energy policy decisions.” [1]

CARE is focused on fighting against clean and renewable energy initiatives in California, suggesting they would drive up energy costs. According to nonprofit filings, CARE is now registered as a 501(c)(4) organization in San Rafael, California. CARE has worked with the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), a trade association supporting large oil companies including ChevronBP, ConocoPhillipsExxonShell, and numerous others. [2]

CARE reportedly launched in August 2013, with its members including Western States Petroleum Association, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association and the California Chamber of Commerce. All three of those members were “sponsors of the AB32 Implementation Group, an organization accused by environmentalists of trying to weaken California’s landmark global warming law, AB32.” [3]

“Whether they call themselves the AB32 Implementation Group, Californians Against Higher Taxes, Fueling California or Californians for Affordable & Reliable Energy, the message and the messengers are the same, just repackaged with a different website address,” wrote Susan Frank, director of the California Business Alliance for a Green Economy. [3]

CARE‘s listed address and phone number match exactly with that of the California Business Roundtable. [4]

Lobbying for Western States Petroleum Association

According to 2019 filings at the California Secretary of State, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) paid CARE $102,136 since January 1 for lobbying. According to its nonprofit filings, CARE‘s listed address is the law offices of Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni, LLP. The law firm’s representative clients include many oil companies that are also members of WSPA, in addition to WSPA itself. [5], [6]

Some of the law firm’s other clients have included energy companies such as ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron, Phillips 66, Tesoro, and Valero Energy Corporation while its nonprofit and trade association clients include the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Western States Petroleum Association, Californians Against Higher Oil Taxes, Californians for Energy Independence, American Beverage Association, among others. Listed clients have also included tobacco companies Reynolds American, Inc. and Altria Client Services Inc. (Philip Morris). [5]

Stance on Climate Change

May 2019

A CARE pamphlet suggests that the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) had a number of negative impacts. [7]

“California residential electric bills have increased 24 percent,” one point reads. “Average gasoline prices have increased from $3.14 to $3.56 per gallon.”

Funding

As of the summer of 2019, CARE had not yet filed any 990 tax forms. As outlined above, CARE has received funding from WSPA for lobbying services. See page 6 below.

Key Documents

WSPA Lobbying Report 2019 (Text)

Key People

Steven S. Lucas, an attorney at the law firm Nielsen Merksamer, was responsible for filing WSPA‘s lobbying report that lists CARE as a recipient. Lucas lists his areas of expertise as “campaign, election, lobby and ethics laws.” He formerly served as a board member of Stillwater Mining Company. CARE does not list staff on its website. [8]

Actions

August 2019

CARE Launched a series of ads on social media criticizing a proposed phasing out of natural gas appliances in San Luis Obispo. [9]

One ad reads:

“Act NOW before a reliable, clean, abundant, and affordable source of energy is banned in San Luis Obispo!

On September 3rd, the San Luis Obispo City Council will vote on an ordinance to ban natural gas from all new buildings and homes, including a ban on natural-gas appliances such as stoves — a move that could leave San Luis Obispo residents broke and in the dark with skyrocketing energy bills and potential trouble with the energy grid.”

May–July 2019

CARE spent between $1,000 and $5,000 on a Facebook ad targeting Californians with a message claiming, “California regulator Mary Nichols ‘threatens Trump’ with an ‘unprecedented ban’ on ALL gas-powered cars in California.” [10]

From May 2019 to August 2019, Facebook reported CARE spent $31,189 on Facebook advertising relating to social issues, elections, or politics. 

CARE also released two ads targeting the California Air Resources Board, suggesting the group doesn’t care about blue collar Californians:

March 2018

CARE ran an ad campaign against AB 1745, saying California legislators “want to make gas cars illegal” promoting concerns that ordinary citizens wouldn’t be able to find charging stations, among several other variations of the ad posted on social media. [11]

August 2013

According to a policy briefing memo at the Environmental Defense Fund, CARE released a paper by Navigant Consulting titled “Preliminary Assessment of Regulatory Cost Drivers in California’s Energy Market.” [12]

The EDF memo concludes: “Upon review of the structure, analysis and findings of the report, however, it is apparent that the paper is an incomplete, unreliable and pessimistic assessment that only focuses on costs without considering the benefits these policies can provide.” [12]

Contact & Address

CARE‘s website lists the following contact information: [14]

1301 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
916.553.4093

According to Google Maps, that building is also home to the Capital Advisory group, Russo Miller & Associates, and the California Business Roundtable. The last, notably, also has a matching phone number to CARE

According to the group’s nonprofit filing, CARE is registered to the following address:

2350 KERNER BLVD STE 250
SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901

That address appears to be for the law offices of Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni, LLP. Among their services, Nielsen Merksamer lists the organization and administration of “tax-exempt organizations, including charitable and governmental organizations, social benefit organizations, trade associations, etc.” [6], [15]

Social Media

Resources

  1. About CARE,” CARE. Archived August 29, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/ZD2XW
  2. About,” WSPA. Archived September 28, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/RtC49
  3. David R Baker. “New group CARE worries about energy prices,” SF Gate, August 19, 2013. Archived August 29, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/GtrVV
  4. (Press Release). “California Business Roundtable Opposes Los Angeles Region Property Tax Increase,” VoteNo.com. Archived August 29, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/2t3u1
  5. REPRESENTATIVE CLIENTS,” Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni. Archived August 29, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/U5pbl
  6. OFFICES,” Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni. Archived August 29, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/BiBrg
  7. “California Is in the Middle of an Affordability Crisis” (PDF), CARE. Document created May 31, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  8. Steven S. Lucas,”Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni. Archived August 29, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/nbJxS
  9. Facebook Ad Library for Californians for Affordable & Reliable Energy. Accessed August 29, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  10. California regulator Mary Nichols ‘threatens Trump’ with an ‘unprecedented ban’ on ALL gas-powered cars in California,” Facebook ad library. Accessed August 29, 2019. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  11. AB 1745 – What Are They Thinking?Facebook, March 16, 2018. 
  12. CALIFORNIA POLICY BRIEFING MEMO REVIEW OF NAVIGANT CONSULTING REPORT ‘Preliminary Assessment of Regulatory Cost Drivers in California’s Energy Market’” (PDF), Environmental Defense Fund, October 2013. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  13. OUR CLIENTS,” Miller Public Affairs Group. Accessed August 29, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/xfJ6p
  14. CONTACT US,” CARE. Archived August 29, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/hfyVs
  15. PRACTICE,” Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni. Archived August 29, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/6hIHI

Other Resources

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