If a ballot initiative is known by the company it keeps, we should be just a teeny bit suspicious of Proposition 23, the Nov. 2 measure designed to eviscerate California’s new greenhouse gas regulation. The driving force behind the initiative is the oil industry, which has contributed more than $2.3 million to getting it passed. The biggest single contributor is San Antonio-based Valero Energy ($1.05 million, according to the latest state campaign disclosures), with San Antonio-based Tesoro Corp.in second place with $525,000.
So begins the latest piece from Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times and he is, once again, on to something. Just as with Prop 16 - the misleadingly labeled “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act” that was actually the “Protect Pacific Gas & Electric’s Monopoly” measure, Hiltzik reveals who is behind Prop 23 and explains why their motives might not be consistent with their rhetoric.
As folks who read this blog surely know, AB 32 is the California law that seeks to reduce our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions while making the state more attractive to green businesses (like this one) that represent the state’s economic future. Given that transportation is the single largest source of GHG emissions in the state, it is not surprising that oil companies might be concerned about a requirement to substantially reduce those emissions. Now the Texas oil companies seeking to block AB 32 may not be interested in hastening the emergence of a renewable, non-fossil-fuel based economy, but surely the rest of us are. Hopefully the voters will see through the deception and reject Prop 23, just as they rejected Prop 16 last month.
If you needed any more incentive than you already had, perhaps this will help. Today the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) released a study of world-wide climate data and concluded that “Global warming is undeniable.” Analyzing data collected in 48 countries by more than 300 scientists, the NOAA report - titled State of the Climate in 2009 - concluded that “the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.”
Apart from the climate change implications of implementing AB 32, it should be remembered that burning fossil fuels - particularly the gasoline peddled by those Texas oil companies - contributes to the creation of smog here in the LA Basin. Cutting back on those emissions will make all of us healthier, particularly those with asthma and other respiratory conditions. Indeed, when I was a child growing up in Alhambra during the 60’s, after lunchtime recess my classmates and I would come back to the classroom and cough repeatedly - such was the state of the air that I was breathing as a boy. We should not forget that the tremendous improvements in air quality here in LA came over the objections of the very same interests that now tell us we cannot afford to implement AB 32.
But they were wrong 40 years ago, just as they are certainly wrong now.
Proposition 16 on the June 8th ballot is easily the most misleading measure of the year. Dubbed the “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act” by its proponents, it should more properly be titled the “Protect PG&E’s Right to Monopolize its Territory Act.” Voters should not be mislead by PG&E’s blatantly misleading advertising and should vote NO on Prop 16. More after the break…
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