Jerry Brown vs. Meg Whitman on the Environment


California’s Clean Energy Leadership

Jerry Brown Meg Whitman

Jerry Brown has said his position on AB 32, California’s landmark clean energy and climate law, is the “defining difference” between him and opponent Meg Whitman. Brown believes AB 32 will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, making California a global leader of the clean technology economy.

Source:  San Jose Mercury News, July 30, 2010

Brown opposes Proposition 23, which is funded by out-of-state oil companies and would repeal AB 32. A central piece of Brown’s economic proposals is promoting energy efficiency and electricity from renewable sources in order to create 500,000 new jobs in California.

“Today, our state has a visionary plan that will not only combat global warming, but will also reduce foreign energy dependence and unhealthy air emissions. It is absolutely imperative that we continue to lead and not back off these policies that will create the jobs of the future. This is a fundamental point of difference between Meg Whitman and me.”

“Investing in clean energy and increasing efficiency are central elements of rebuilding our economy. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, build the businesses of the 21st century, increase energy independence, and protect public health.”

Source: Jerry Brown campaign

Meg Whitman believes "overreaching environmental regulations" are an impediment to jobs and has said on her first day in office she would suspend all new regulations. Specifically she has called California’s landmark clean energy law AB 32 a “job-killer.” Whitman’s policy booklet, published in March 2010, cited a widely discredited study that said AB 32 would "cost California businesses more than $100 billion to implement and would destroy one million jobs."

Source: KQED’s Capital Notes, July 15, 2010

After months of refusing to take a position, Whitman finally announced she will vote “no” on Proposition 23, the oil industry-funded ballot initiative which (if approved by voters) would repeal AB 32. However, Whitman has long advocated for a moratorium on AB 32. She wrote an opinion piece for the San Jose Mercury News entitled “To create jobs, curb environmental regulation” in which she said she would suspend AB 32 for one year, using a provision that allows a governor to do so when facing a "threat of significant economic harm." The law "may have been well-intentioned. But it is wrong for these challenging times… [AB 32] will discourage job creation and could kill any recovery."

Source: San Jose Mercury News, Sept. 17, 2009

Climate Change

Jerry Brown Meg Whitman

“The fact is, the evidence [of human-caused global warming] has never been stronger. And people now know…  if you keep putting carbon in the environment, it's going to make a different kind of world and we need to make changes.”

Source: UCSB Daily Nexus, May 18, 2010

Asked at a debate on May 2, 2010, whether humans cause climate change, Whitman said, "I don't know. I'm not a scientist."

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, July 26, 2010

Oil Drilling and Coastal Protection

Jerry Brown Meg Whitman

Opposes additional offshore oil drilling and says “given the current state of technology, California should not risk the devastation caused by the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”

As governor, Brown successfully fought federal efforts to expand offshore oil drilling in Southern California and signed a law forbidding new federal leases for drilling along the California coast. As Attorney General, Brown filed a lawsuit against the owners, operators and pilot of the Cosco Busan, the shipping vessel that spilled more than 53,000 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay.

Brown believes “California’s coastline is a precious resource vulnerable to offshore oil spills, urban and agricultural waste (including plastics), and erosion and sea level rise due to climate change.”

Source: Jerry Brown campaign

As an adviser to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, Whitman praised McCain for supporting "the right energy policies ... (including) lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling."

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, May 29, 2010

More recently, in 2009, she told reporters at the Los Angeles Times that she was “open to new offshore oil drilling.” In Santa Barbara, Whitman told reporters that she supported the controversial Tranquillon Ridge oil drilling project, and that she believed the state should explore other offshore oil drilling options: “When I started this process, I was against offshore oil drilling… and then I began to understand deeply the new technology that is available to extract oil from existing wells.”

Source: Santa Barbara Independent, Sept. 1, 2009

Whitman recently changed her position on offshore oil drilling after the Gulf of Mexico disaster and now says she opposes new offshore drilling “unless technological advances can minimize risks.” Whitman has suggested that slant drilling may be safe enough.

Source: Sacramento Bee, May 2, 2010


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