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Verde Laguna: Vote 'no' on Prop. 23 to promote clean energy

October 07, 2010|By Gustavo Grad

The most important thing to keep in mind when casting your vote on Nov. 2, should you care about the environment, is that there is an initiative, Prop. 23, that seeks to suspend the state law requiring reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

The state's landmark Climate Change law AB-32, was signed into law in 2006 by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said, "I wanted to make California No. 1 in the fight against global warming. This is something we owe our children and grandchildren."

Just last week Schwarzenegger, talking on Prop. 23, said that, "Texas oil companies have descended upon California to overturn a California law," and accused the companies of "self-greed" for supporting the initiative. "Does anyone really believe that these companies out of the goodness of their black oil hearts are spending millions of dollars to protect our jobs?" he asked, according to the Associated Press.

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I am asking, do you?

Valero Energy and Tesoro Corp. are two oil companies based in San Antonio with refineries in California that are spending millions of dollars to push their dirty Prop. 23. The argument to support the initiative is that the implementation of AB-32 is going to have a negative impact on the economy, and cost jobs. They are proposing to put the law on hold until Californian's unemployment rate drops to 5.5% for four consecutive quarters. This is a misleading argument that lacks the facts to connect unemployment to environmental standards, and plays to the fears of those who lost their jobs or are afraid to be next in the unemployment line, in this recession that has skyrocketed unemployment in the state to more than 12%.

To support this argument, they are using a report about AB-32 from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office. Its principal findings when talking about unemployment were that they are "difficult to accurately predict but would be mixed, with gains in some occupations and industries (including so-called "green jobs") and losses in others (primarily involving fossil fuel related production). On balance however, they believe the aggregate net jobs impact in the near term is likely to be negative."

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