Less than a month away from California’s November election, supporters and opponents of the state’s ten ballot measures are in the home stretch. Proposition 23, which seeks halt the state’s ground-breaking clean energy law called AB 32, has received national attention largely because oil giants, like Texas-based Valero and Tesoro, and the Kansas-based Koch Brothers, are responsible for funding nearly all of this California initiative.
It’s not surprising that big oil companies do not support clean, renewable energy. What may be shocking to some is the fact that California based oil companies Chevron and Occidental, along with the Chamber of Commerce, have all chosen to remain neutral on the issue. Instead, it’s now come to light that these polluters are all sneakily funding the “Yes on 26” campaign. If Prop 23 fails, and Prop 26 passes, AB 32 and California’s efforts to promote clean energy would be significantly compromised. Proposition 26, if passed, will reclassify as taxes the fees big businesses pay to offset their impacts and those fees would then be subject to a 2/3 vote of the Legislature – a near impossible hurdle. This would mean polluters would no longer be held accountable for the dirty air, toxic waste sites and hazardous by-products they create, to name a few.
How does this effect our clean energy law? A key feature of AB 32 is placing fees on polluting businesses that cause global warming; exactly what Prop 26 aims to stop. When a business has to pay because they pollute too much, cleaning up their act to save money becomes a key incentive, without that incentive, California stands to become even more polluted.
There is no question that we must stop Prop 23 on November 2nd, but it is critical that we take a hard line stance against Prop 23’s secret dirty ally. Prop 26 must be stopped if California wants a chance at a cleaner, healthier and safer environment.