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California may repeal Grenhouse bill that Oregon almost had

April 14, 2010

Oregon successfully fought a more onerous bill in 2009
by: John Ledger
Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

A vigorous effort is underway in California to put  Assembly Bill 32, the all-inclusive Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction measure passed in 2006, in the closet until the state has four consecutive quarters of unemployment at 5.5% or under (i.e., forever).   The restrictions to be placed on Californians by AB 32 are just starting to be realized. AB 32 delegates enormous authority to various state agencies to devise and impose GHG reduction mandates and penalties through rulemaking. The measures would not be limited to large power plants, but include every aspect of one’s life including private automobile use, buildings, transportation options, construction, and home heating.

Several factors coalesced to fuel the repeal effort. Even initial proposals by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), such as making it illegal to buy cars of certain colors, fines for not checking tire pressure, and mandating tinted windows, have not been well received. The state’s economy is in horrible shape with no improvement in sight. Near-term energy costs are projected to increase dramatically. And California’s partner states (including Oregon) who were supposed to join in the Western Climate Initiative Cap and Trade scheme, have either bailed out or are standing on the sidelines, leaving the Golden State alone to Cap and Trade itself into an increasingly dark economic corner.

The increasing nervousness about AB 32 has generated, predictably, much political posturing. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sent a letter to CARB asking for a slowdown of the whole AB 32 process, especially Cap and Trade. In what can only be read with fascination, the letter first goes to great length to establish his environmental bona fides before requesting a stall on the rulemaking. CARB may ignore such a request and, indeed, may be legally bound to do so. Nonetheless, the letter was worth writing as it simultaneously peeved both supporters and opponents, something always worth watching.  At the same time, Democratic gubernatorial nominee-apparent Jerry Brown, (ex-governor/boyfriend of Linda Ronstadt) and Republican aspirants have taken polar opposite positions on the measure.

Passed in 2006, AB 32 is much more restrictive than anything yet proposed by the Obama administration or Congress. AB 32 requires that by 2020 California’s greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels, about a 25 percent reduction from today’s levels. SB 80, the erstwhile Oregon proposal, would have forced another five percent reduction by any means necessary including capping gasoline use and home heating. SB 80 was strongly opposed by AOI and a broad business/labor coalition and died in the state senate after extensive hearings. Many AOI members provided effective testimony and letters in opposition to the bill.

If sufficient signatures are gathered, the measure will appear on the November California ballot.

  
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Discuss this article

Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs April 14, 2010

Okay, and now for some facts …

This is a proposed initiative for the November ballot funded by a Texas oil company, Valero, and its allies. 89 percent of the funding so far has been from the oil and gas industry. 72 percent of the money is from Texas. The move for this initiative isn’t from our state; it’s from Texs.

Most of California’s business community is either against the initiative or not backing it. The includes the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (opposing the initiative), Google (opposing the initiative), Applied Materials (opposing), Waste Management (opposing). Even the political heavyweight California Chamber of Commerce is sitting this one out.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is not supporting the initiative and Republican Governor Schwarzenegger is against it.

Every independent study of AB32 to date has said it is a job creator. California has 7 of the top 10 clean tech companies (Wall St. Journal) and five of the top 10 cities in the U.S. for clean tech jobs. The National Venture Capital Association just came out strongly against the initiative.

Fresh Air April 15, 2010

California’s governor is not the only one trying to stall AB 32, Global Warming Solutions Act. Valero Oil Company is trying to halt California’s progress by slowing down AB 32. It will take years to get unemployment down to 5.5% which means years until we green our state.

Take Action to help California and stop Valero

Go To: ellabakercenter.org/stopvalero

-Why take a step back when progress feels so good

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