Gov. Newsom’s Proposal to Cap Windfall Profits Wins Full Support of CA Climate Justice Advocates at Start of Special Legislative Session   


SACRAMENTO, CA –  Gov. Newsom has kicked off the special session to address high gas prices in the state with the introduction of a bill that would enact a price gouging penalty on the state’s five big oil refiners. Californians have suffered with the highest gas prices in the nation while oil industry profits have nearly quadrupled overall and profits from gasoline have doubled so far this year. Calling on lawmakers to hold industry accountable, Gov. Newsom said he called the special session “to increase transparency on pricing and protect Californians from outrageous price spikes in the future.” He is urging California legislators to pass a price gouging penalty above a certain price per gallon threshold to hold the oil industry responsible for gouging consumers at the pump and spurring a cost of living crisis across the state.


Advocates with Last Chance Alliance have been organizing demonstrations at gas stations throughout the year to highlight the oil industry greed behind the sky high prices at the pump. Just last week organizers gathered at eight locations across the state and outside the California Energy Commission’s hearing on gas prices to rally in support of Gov. Newsom’s proposed penalty on excess profits. Local elected officials with Elected Officials to Protect America also held a rally on the steps of the Capitol to show their support for a windfall profits cap. 

Download photos and videos of the statewide demonstrations.  


In response to the start of the special session, members of Last Chance Alliance issued the following statements:


“Oil and gas industry puts people’s health, particularly the health of the most impacted, at risk at every stage, from drilling to transport to processing, and finally to burning. The industry is also by far the largest contributor to global warming, which is the greatest health threat we have ever faced. As the oil industry collects record profits, Californians pay higher prices at the pump, struggling to pay for their food and medications, but they also pay with their health and their lives. We urge lawmakers to heed our call and pass this bill,” said Marjaneh Moini,

Board Member, Physicians for Social Responsibility. 


“This is what it looks like to put people over oil industry profits, and we hope to see more of it,” said Jason Pfeifle, a senior climate campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Gov. Newsom’s price gouging penalty rightly ensures that polluters won’t be rewarded for punishing Californians with price shocks and fossil-fueled climate disasters. It’s a recognition that craven oil industry greed is causing the climate crisis and price spikes at the pump.”  

“While gas prices and oil companies profits have reached record levels, we’re living a tale as old as the oil industry itself. Greedy fossil fuel companies are draining our wallets, fueling the flames of climate-driven wildfires, polluting our communities, eroding our democracy, and leaving us to foot the bill,” said Caroline Henderson, Senior Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace USA.  “It’s time to put a muzzle on this unrestrained polluter greed. Californians deserve better than this – we need our legislators to pass a price gouging penalty.


“We applaud Governor Newsom standing up to Big Oil greed and his leadership on the windfall profits cap. Big Oil should not be allowed to jack up prices to fund a referendum effort that will enable them to effectively buy the policy they want. A windfall profits cap is an effective tool that the state can use to protect California’s working families at the pump, protect public health, and protect our democracy from the industry’s referendum attempt to repeal S.B. 1137, the health and safety buffer zones law that Newsom championed earlier this year,” said Kobi Naseck, Coalition Coordinator, Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods


“It is deplorable and outrageous that fossil fuel corporations are raking in billions of dollars in profits at the expense of Californians,” said Chirag Bhakta, California Director at Food & Water Watch. “These profits are also coming from an industry that is driving our climate crisis and fueling the drought which is impacting everyone in the state. The legislature should take swift action to rein in this profiteering.”


“The oil and gas industry has been holding California policy and policymakers hostage for far too long, and it is refreshing to see Governor Newsom striking back against their corruption,” said Dan Ress, Staff Attorney at the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment. “Even before the industry filed a referendum against the setbacks law that Governor Newsom championed, oil companies started jacking up gas prices as revenge against the responsible policy. With a windfall profits cap, California will have one more tool to fight back, and we applaud the Governor’s leadership in the fight against the industry.”


“We must protect consumers from price gouging. We urged action to bring justice and security to the people of California, and enact a windfall profit cap on oil companies,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine state Representative, Marine combat veteran, President of Elected Officials to Protect America and Co-Founder. “Too many people have been forced to cut back on necessities just to fill their tank for their working commute. This issue highlights the absolute necessity to become energy independent from fossil fuels. People shouldn’t needlessly suffer from oil price fluctuations, and deadly greenhouse gas emissions. The transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy must be accelerated for our national security.”


“The excess profits penalty will help the gasoline market work better with the pump price reflecting the cost of producing gasoline in California,” said Clair Brown, Economics Professor, UC Berkeley. “When the price exceeds the actual  production costs, companies earn an excess profit without adding any value. Excess profits are especially harmful to the public when the oil companies spend their high revenues to lobby for laws that support oil extraction and refining for decades, rather than phasing them out as required by climate science. One example is the current petition drive to repeal the recent law that mandates no new permits for oil wells within 3200’ of communities. Overall, the excess profits penalty will support the public good and California’s climate goals.”


“Oil companies should not continue to profit from perpetuating the climate crisis and contributing to toxic air in California communities. Governor Newsom is right to call on the legislature to combat oil industry profiteering through a price gouging penalty,” said Brandon Dawson, Director of Sierra Club CA. “The legislature should take this call seriously, and push for policies and funding that will transition the state away from dirty fossil fuels once-and-for-all.”


“There are a great many elements in the Governor’s proposal that are going to benefit working people and environmental justice communities in CA and calling upon multiple agencies (the Energy Commission and CARB) to work together for the benefit of human and ecological health is one of them,” notes Barbara Sattler, from the California Nurses for Environmental Health and Justice and Professor at the University of San Francisco.  “Too often our state agencies work in silos that result in regulatory blindspots which have real implications for our health and safety.”


“For decades, the oil industry’s massive profits have funded their disinformation campaigns and powerful lobby to delay climate action,” said Woody Hastings, Energy Program Manager for The Climate Center. “Governor Newsom is right to hold them accountable and protect Californians from corporate price-gouging. We urge state lawmakers to follow through with a windfall profits cap to rein in oil industry greed.”