Protesters call for end of oil subsidies, more jobs at Chevron headquarters

Wall Street tsunami reaches the San Ramon Valley

Several activist groups will join together outside of Chevron headquarters in San Ramon for two days of protest against subsidies for oil companies. Part of a national week of action, the Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening protests will call attention to a variety of causes.

Ellis Goldberg, president of the Tri Valley Democratic Club, said the purpose of the two-day protest is to bring to light how oil companies are not paying their fair share by benefiting from oil subsidies. Chevron is the fourteenth most profitable company in the United States, the Danville resident said, and they are benefiting immensely from its lobbying group, The American Petroleum Institute.

"I'm not looking for Chevron to say anything. We are not lobbying Chevron, we are lobbying Congress," Goldberg said, adding that he expects between 50 and 150 people to demonstrate on Tuesday. "The reason we're in front of Chevron is because they're big oil and that's the place to be lobbing about oil subsidies. We don't expect them to quit the API or get them to stop lobbying for loopholes. "

Instead, Goldberg said his group aims to bring awareness to the San Ramon Valley, which he believes is generally unaware that oil companies will receive $44 billion in subsidies over the next five years. By raising awareness of the price of oil subsidies, and how a reduction could benefit the public, Goldberg hopes to drum support for President Obama's jobs bill.

"What we want is for Congress to turn that around. Republican Congress is not going to turn that around, we're going to have to turn Congress around," he said.

Other groups, such as the American Dream Movement (AMD) are focusing their efforts on supporting the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and voicing concern for job growth. The Tri-Valley MoveOn Council is one of 70 groups under the AMD umbrella who want to "make sure that people have jobs, that our children have education and a secure future."

"Here we are giving welfare to an oil company that's one of the richest companies in the world, when there are people who are hungry and don't have jobs," said Organizer Karen Beck. "We know that these corporations…throw money at Congress, and their vote almost matters more than ours. What we do know is we don't have the money of the corporations but we have our voices."

To that end, MoveOn will have several speakers who have lost their jobs or homes and will invite residents to share their stories as well. Goldberg's group will have a demonstration of a "subsidy sucker," and both groups aim to have a good time while spreading their message to neighbors.

"We have this concept getting them off the couch. The idea is to push the community, inch them toward the edge and once they get off the couch maybe they'll join us on the protest line," Goldberg said.

The event will be held at 6121 Bollinger Canyon Road on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. Another protest is scheduled in Walnut Creek, where demonstrators will gather outside Bank of America on Wednesday evening.

Chevron, which was the subject of another protest in May, maintains that it "pays its fair share."

"Between 2005 and 2009, our industry paid or accrued to the U.S. government almost $158 billion in taxes, royalties and fees, including $98 billion in federal income taxes. That totals nearly $86 million a day," wrote Chevron Media Advisor Sean Comey. "Changing important tax provisions outside the context of broader corporate tax reform would achieve one unmistakable outcome -- it would restrain domestic development and reduce tax revenues at a time when they are needed most."

Last May, the Senate voted on the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, S. 940, which would eliminate $21 billion of tax loopholes over the next decade for the five largest oil companies and send recovered money to the U.S. Treasury to bridge the budget deficit. The legislation was blocked due to American Petroleum Institute lobbying.


Posted by [removed], a resident of another community
on Oct 10, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Dear Editor,

Chevron is a unique strategic investor that seeks to prosper technologies in energy, transportation, bioscience, healthcare, and industrialization. Certainly it is appropriate to question any unwarranted government subsidiary but at the same time it is important to understand the relationship of government and energy in our USAmerican role in a global economy. More importantly, Chevron Community Engagement is an global function seeking more humanity in our world and has focus in our corridor.

Journalism will tell this story rather than simply illustrating rallies and protests. You are a very good journalist and your readers want to see such results.

Tell this story!

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Oct 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm

These anti-oil crusaders continue to spread misinformation, labeling ordinary business deductions and credits as subsidies, in order to further their agenda.

It is misleading to say a tax deduction or credit is a subsidy for the oil industry but a legitimate business deduction or credit for all other industries.

For example, the President proposes to eliminate Section 199 Deduction for oil companies. Sec. 199 of the tax code provides a tax deduction for certain expenses related to domestic manufacturing. It was enacted to encourage the creation of U.S. manufacturing jobs. The Sec. 199 deduction is available to all manufacturing industries, including producers of clothing, roads, electricity, equipment, etc. Removing oil and gas production eligibility for this tax break is not removing a subsidy or closing a tax loophole but imposing a targeted tax hike.

Similarly, the President has proposed limiting the ability of oil companies to claim foreign tax credits. The foreign tax credit is not a unique oil industry subsidy. It is available to all companies subject to foreign income taxes. It is designed to avoid double taxation. The President's plan would unfairly subject the oil industry to double taxation.

It's amazing these people claim that oil companies aren't paying their "fair share." The oil industry has a marginal income tax rate of 41% while the rest of businesses in Standard & Poor's 500 have an average income tax rate of 26%. Oil companies are paying more than their fair share.

Posted by LMP, a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2011 at 6:28 am

These people should be demonstrating in front of the offices of the public officials who vote for these subsidies and take money from the industry. By the way, do you think they all came by bicycle since oil is so evil?

Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2011 at 7:48 am

It is ironic that the photo right next to the story about the protestors at Chevron shows Chevron being a sponsor of the Primo's run for education. Chevron is a very good corporate citizen, who donates to local charities and education. More importantly, in this economy, Chevron provides well paying jobs to local residents, which keeps our local economy afloat. Chevron employees thus also donate time and money to local charities. As usual, the Tri-Valley Democratic Club is misguided in their criticism. If Chevron left San Ramon and moved to Texas, which is a much more friendly tax and political state than California, what does the Tri-Valley Democratic Club think would happen to all the local charities that Chevron and their employees donate to? What would happen to our local ecomony, our local property taxes, our local businesses? The greatness of Steve Jobs was not putting out fancy new products at Apple, it was creating jobs in an ecomony that desperately needs jobs. The Tri-Valley Democratic Club does not seem to understand this basic concept.

Posted by Jade ramsey, a resident of Alamo
on Oct 11, 2011 at 8:58 am

Why don't these idiots ask mcnerney pelosi et. whythey REFUSE to sign house resolution 615 that requires THEM to go on OBAmAcare!!!?
They won't---because of the not so hidden death panels! Wake up people!

Posted by Jim, a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2011 at 9:02 am

Priceless. At the same protest they're going to call for Chevron to lose revenue AND...demand they create more jobs. Nice work playing on emotions while ignoring reality.

Posted by Cardinal, a resident of Diablo
on Oct 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

Okay, you Chev-Rons -- step aWAY from the water cooler and Get Back to Work!

I must add that I grow tired of their constant four-color flakking about what good guys they are, because they buy stuff, too.

Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Cardinal: I have never worked for Chevron, nor has any member of my family. In this economy, I do not think we should be criticizing a solid corporate citizen, like Chevron, that supplies good jobs to our local economy, and also has a long history of donating money to local charities and schools. We were not all born with silver spoons in our mouths, or beaks, Cardinal, with trust funds, allowing us to lay around Diablo and take pot shots at local employers who are really helping our local economy.

Posted by Duffy , a resident of Danville
on Oct 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Let's see now...... we want to make Chevron less profitable so they will hire more people. I'm all for intelligent protests but I haven't seen one lately. Why don't these malcontents find something worth while to do like castrating seagulls at Fisherman's Wharf!

Posted by cardinal, a resident of Diablo
on Oct 11, 2011 at 2:09 pm

"We were not all born with silver spoons in our mouths, or beaks, Cardinal, with trust funds, allowing us to lay around Diablo and take pot shots at local employers who are really helping our local economy."

You know, friend, you're right. I know that because with our two-person sample, apparently neither of us fits your attempted insult. Otherwise, I'd be an angry bird. Since the rest of your post contained nothing but rehash, there's not a lot more to say.

Posted by Diane, a resident of Alamo
on Oct 12, 2011 at 9:21 am

One of the funniest headlines in memory...!

"Hey! Stop earning money AND hire more people!"


Posted by Cardinal, a resident of Diablo
on Oct 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

Diane: their lobbyists earned 'em those subsidies.

Have you looked at those photos? Those protesters appear to be representatives of the nearly-departed, former Middle Class. As Smokey Robinson wrote: "It's Growin'."

You might wanna count your blessings that you're possibly still a member.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2011 at 11:25 am

Fact is that the petroleum industry is heavily subsidized. Refer to this article in the NY Times:

Web Link

Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Oct 13, 2011 at 10:43 am

Cardinal: It is quite amusing to listen to a person from Diablo cry about the evils of corporations and the shrinking middle class. Let me guess, you own no stock in any corporations, you do not drive a car, and you live off the grid while roughing it in Diablo.

Posted by Farmer Dave, a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2011 at 7:12 am

Farmer Dave is a registered user.


Always with the misleading statistics? A marginal income tax rate means nothing when no taxes are paid on deductions.

According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry.

Posted by Cardinal, a resident of Diablo
on Oct 19, 2011 at 8:47 am

Are you engaging in Class Warfare, American? Or do you just suffer from an over-active assumptionator?

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Oct 19, 2011 at 10:33 am

Farmer D,

Not sure what you're saying. Taxes aren't paid on deductions. Taxes are paid on income. If you have income, you pay tax, unless, of course, you can offset your tax liability somehow (e.g. via tax losses carried forward from prior years, tax credits, etc.).

I would have more respect for the anti-oil crowd if they would just be honest and say oil is poison and they're trying to raise the price of oil through increased taxes in order to discourage its use. Instead, they falsely claim oil companies are paying low taxes, which just is not true.

Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Oct 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm

How did that old television commercial go again?
"Do people really have to die for Chevron's profits? People Do!"

Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Oct 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I think one thing most of us on this blog actually agree on is the need for more local jobs. We can debate taxes, foreign policy, social policies, but none of that really matters if you are out of work. It all starts with employment, and getting local citizens back to work. To that end, having policies that encourage employers to set up shop locally is paramount. So, when you have a local, large employer, like Chevron, that actually provides a very significaant amount of well paying local jobs, why do people want to spend time and effort attacking them? Why do you want to create an atmosphere that is anti-Chevron, that gives them reason to consider moving their headquarters and good paying local jobs to another, more conservative and less anti-corporate state, like Texas, Arizona, or Nevada? To quote Atticus Finch, "put yourself in the shoes" of the CEO and administrators of Chevron and "walk around" to see things their way. If the local newspapers are constantly attacking them, protestors are making it difficult for them to even get to work, and local citizens are badmouthing them on local social networks, what would you do? At some point, wouldn't you consider moving your headquarters and all our local jobs, somewhere more friendly? Instead of relying on Washington to allegedly create jobs for us locally, with one failed program after another, doesn't it make more sense to work locally on keeping our local employers happy, and not giving them reasons to move?

Posted by Mike, a resident of Danville
on Oct 19, 2011 at 10:15 pm

The point is that the USA needs to move from a petroleum dependent economy to an economy that relies on multiple energy sources which includes oil, natural gas, nuclear, solar, geothermal, hydrogen fuel cells and other sources. What may happen in energy is what happened in the computer industry over the last 30 years. Thirty years ago, mainframes were computing--much like today's energy. We depend on central sources of energy--PG&E and gas stations. Personal computers changed that. Today we are in the early stage of local power generation, provided through multiple technologies.

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