When it comes to curtailing carbon emissions, California leads the way. Its policies promoting clean energy and zero-emission vehicles are the most comprehensive of any state, and have strong public support.

Of course, there's one group that's not very happy about these developments: the oil industry.

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A leaked Powerpoint deck now circulating among climate activists--a copy of which was sent to Bloomberg Businessweek -- details a plan by the oil lobby to derail California's clean-energy legislation.

Created by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) -- a powerful lobbying group for the oil and gas industries -- it comes from a November 11 presentation to the Washington Research Council.

The presentation details plans to raise opposition to environmental measures in California, as well as Oregon and Washington states.

The slides reveal what is reportedly an "Astroturf campaign": the creation and funding of groups that appear to represent grassroots opposition to the policies, while supporting the oil industry's point of view. The plan targets clean-energy policies both enacted and under development in California. Those include AB 32 -- a major piece of clean-energy legislation -- and low-carbon fuel standards in all three states.

The organizations carry names like Oregon Climate-Change Campaign and AB32 Implementation Group, making them sound like unaffiliated environmental groups. In reality, they're actually working to promote the interests of Big Oil.

Lobbyists also seized on a line from a California Air Resources Board memo on the state cap-and-trade program for gasoline and diesel, which goes into effect January 1.

The memo noted that the program might affect gas prices, so the WSPA created an ad campaign that warns of a "hidden" gas tax.

Responding to the leaked oil-industry playbook in a blog post, the National Resources Defense Council noted that these tactics are sadly nothing new.

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The NRDC notes that the 15-plus groups backed by the WSPA represent just the latest set of sheep's clothing concealing the same old "Big Bad Wolf."

This complex web of front groups was meant to target multiple pieces of legislation in arguably the three states now most invested in clean energy.

Perhaps the hope was that halting California, Oregon, and Washington could eliminate the most serious threats to the fossil-fuel industry. We'd suggest that seems rather unlikely -- especially now that these tactics have come to light.

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