There is a battle going on in California this election season that everyone who is involved in the green energy business should be aware of.
I’m not talking about Meg Whitman vs. Jerry Brown for Governor … I’m talking about Proposition 23 which is on the ballot for California voters to decide next week. If passed, this proposition would effectively repeal California’s landmark clean energy and clean air law passed four years ago and signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger.
AB32 was a pioneering law designed to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Thanks to AB32, tens of thousands of jobs have been created and California’s “green economy” is one of the most robust sectors in the state. Since the late 1960s, California has led the nation in environmental regulation and with Congress paralyzed on climate legislation, many feel California is the best hope for a cleaner future. That’s why defeating this proposition is important to all of us in America who care about the environment!
AB32 caps greenhouse gas emissions at power plants and other big pollution sources in the state and is why the backers of Prop 23 want to kill it. The primary funders of Prop 23 are Valero Energy and Tesoro Corp., Texas oil companies who are among the nation’s biggest polluters, and their California oil refineries are among the top ten polluters in the state. [According to the LA Times, Valero and Tesoro are San Antonio-based oil companies that fronted the money to get Proposition 23 on the ballot and have together contributed nearly $5.6 million to this campaign.]
These oil companies are promoting a misleading argument that AB32 will deter job growth at a critical moment in the state’s economic recovery. If passed, Prop 23 would suspend AB32 until the state’s unemployment rate falls to 5.5% or below for four consecutive quarters. Backers insist that this wouldn’t negate the law because the rate is achievable — yet a global recession, which had nothing to do with California’s environmental standards, caused statewide unemployment to skyrocket to 12.4% and it will take many years to recover from such a severe economic blow.
Because meeting AB32’s 2020 deadline requires immediate action, delaying implementation by even a year could render its goal impossible. This concerns me and other greenies who are investing billions of dollars in renewable power plants and research into clean-energy alternatives to air polluting fossil fuel industry.
By the way – Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman have both come out against this proposition. See Sacramento Bee article on Whitman’s new position http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2010/09/whitman-to-vote-against-propos.html
So I urge my Cali brothers and sisters to vote NO on Proposition 23. The entire nation is watching.