Opponents of Texas Oil Company-Funded Dirty Energy Proposition React to Qualification of Measure for November General Election Ballot


For Immediate Release: June 22, 2010

Source: Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs (www.stopdirtyenergyprop.com)
Contact: Steve Maviglio, 916-607-8340


Coalition of More than 300 Organizations Oppose Initiative that Will Increase Air Pollution and Public Health Risks While Harming California’s Economy

Sacramento — California’s leading business, public health, senior, and environmental groups, along with 300 other business groups today promised to fight a deceptive ballot measure being bankrolled by two Texas oil companies that today qualified for the November general election ballot.

Opponents of the ballot proposition say it will kill the state’s growing clean tech economy, increase air pollution, and drive up energy costs for businesses and homeowners. They also criticized the special interests behind the initiative for spending millions of dollars on a measure that will benefit the oil industry while the Gulf oil crisis threatens the nation’s economy and environment. The oil company coalition is already being widely criticized by newspaper editorials, independent economists, and third parties for the deceptive nature of their campaign and false claims.

"The out-of-state oil companies want to keep us addicted to their dirty oil, and they’re apparently willing to spend millions to kill competition from clean energy providers so they can maintain their multi-billion dollar monopoly. But the environmental community is joined with clean energy businesses, community groups, organized labor and others to do whatever it takes to defeat this deceptive measure,” said Warner Chabot, CEO, California League of Conservation Voters.

“This misguided proposition will seriously harm our effort to encourage the growing entrepreneurial ventures that hold the promise of important change toward cleaner energy,” said former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz, co-chairman of Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs, the group opposing the proposition. “Jobs in California generated by clean-tech ventures are growing and, since these products have global potential use, the prospect for important growth in clean-tech jobs is promising. As a former Secretary of State, I see our dependence on foreign oil as one of the greatest threats to national security, and the proposition would undermine efforts to break that dependence. I oppose the proposition designed to derail AB 32.”

According to the California Secretary of State, more than $3 million has spent on the ballot measure so far by energy-related interests; 80 percent of that has come from special interests outside of California. Oil companies alone have spent $2,390,000 on the campaign -- 78 percent of the total. Texas-based Valero alone spent $1,050,000 for the effort, representing 34 percent of the total. Another Texas-based oil refiner, Tesoro, has contributed $525,000, which amounts to 17 percent of the total. Valero and Tesoro were recently named the #12 and #32 polluters in the nation in the “Toxic 100 Air Polluters” report (http://www.peri.umass.edu/toxic100).

Also today, Calpine, California’s largest independent power company, which generates power from clean-burning natural gas and renewable geothermal facilities, joined the growing coalition of public health, environmental, and business groups also are opposing the measure.

“Calpine is proud to have invested over $5 billion to enable California to retire polluting, aging and inefficient power plants and this measure undermines the continuing efforts by us and others who are providing clean, cost-effective and reliable power to California customers,” said Jack A. Fusco, President and Chief Executive Officer, Calpine.

Dozens of other public health, environmental, and business groups also are opposing the measure.

"We call on Californians to reject the Texas oil companies' attempt to undo California's clean air and clean energy laws," said Jane Warner, president and chief executive of the American Lung Association in California. "Thousands of people are being rushed to emergency rooms and thousands of people are dying early as a result of air pollution. Air pollution is a major public health crisis and the oil companies’ efforts to repeal AB 32 will make matters much worse."

“Every year, thousands of California seniors are hospitalized and tens of thousands more suffer from respiratory illnesses like asthma and bronchitis because of air pollution in our state,” said AARP California State President Jeannine English. “That’s why AARP is strongly opposed to the ballot initiative that would roll back California’s most important clean air and clean energy law.”

“The notion of repealing AB 32 presents a false choice to the people of California,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “We don’t have to choose between a strong economy and combating climate change.”

“In November, Californians will have a clear choice: side with the out-of-state oil interests who are trying to kill our clean air laws and clean energy economy, or stand up for California jobs, clean air, and environment, said Bill Magavern, Director, Sierra Club California. “We’re confident voters will vote against the oil companies’ scheme.”

“This deceptive initiative would kill competition and jobs from solar and other clean energy industries at the worst possible time,” said Sue Kateley, Executive Director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association. “Solar businesses and other renewable energy companies are thriving in California because of our state’s clean energy and clean air laws. Clean energy and technology businesses range from small businesses with just a few employees, to large corporations that employ hundreds. Rather than save jobs, the Texas oil companies’ initiative could very well put many of these businesses out of work.”

“Voters have been reminded lately of the dangers of fossil fuels, the oil spill in the Gulf Coast and the recent coal mine disaster, graphically demonstrating why we need to move away from fossil fuels and shift to cleaner, home-grown, modern technologies such as wind energy,” said Nancy Rader, Executive Director, California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA).

“California is leading the clean technology revolution. This sector grew 10 times faster than the rest of the California economy over the past few years,” said Dan Adler, President, California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF). “If the Dirty Energy Proposition is successful, California will instantly go from leader to laggard, and it will have a devastating impact on clean tech jobs and billions of dollars in investments.”

Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Anne Smart: “The public should not be fooled by any misleading ballot initiatives. Far from saving employment, these will undermine future job growth. AB 32 is what we need to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and continue to be the innovation capital of the world.”

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt: “AB 32 is an incubator of innovation. In Silicon Valley, it was the limitations of one technology or system that served as the drivers of change and led to the success of our industries here. AB 32 provides a similar opportunity for new job creation in many sectors as business responds to the need for energy-efficient buildings, transportation and a growing portfolio of renewable energy resources.”

"There is no bigger threat to economic growth, clean air, and job creation than this effort by Texas oil companies to kill AB 32, our roadmap to a clean energy future," said Ann Notthoff, California Advocacy Director at NRDC. "Californians know they can have both a strong economy and a healthy environment. Let's not allow Valero to fuel up the hype machine about California's AB 32.”

"The millions of dollars being spent by Texas oil companies and other out-of-state interests to rewrite California law is being met by a strong grassroots effort and a well funded campaign backed by businesses, health organizations, and environmental allies from around the state,” said Wade Crowfoot, West Coast Political Director, Environmental Defense Fund.

For the latest campaign news and developments, please visit www.StopDirtyEnergyProp.com

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