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.