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Plot to Stop AB32 Thickens

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Friday March 12th, 2010 | 4 Comments

You might want to start taking notes on the effort in California to shelve the state’s landmark emissions control legislation, the Global Warming Solutions Act (aka AB32). It’s getting interesting.

First off, the Sacramento Bee reports that papers filed today in Sacramento identify  Scott Folwarkow, Valero’s director of government affairs in California, and Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, as officers of the fundraising committee that is bankrolling the effort to petition for AB32 postponement. This confirms widely-held suspicions that the Texas oil company Valero–which operates two oil refineries in California (in Benicia and Wilmington)–is behind the effort to stop the effort to curb emissions in California. As more details about the funding behind the opposition effort come to light, perhaps oil company Tesoro’s role will become clearer, too.

The movement needed a sugar-daddy like Valero because the petition drive and ballot initiative will require serious funding. But ironically, one of the leaders of the AB32 opposition movement, now opposes the opposition. Pete Costa of the anti-tax group People’s Advocate, and an author of the original legislation to suspend AB32, says that the oil companies have shut him and his group out of the campaign. Costa said in an interview: “I wanted to do a grass-roots operation and involve a lot of people. But they believe they can run this thing out of the country club, and to hell with the little people of California. If they have half a million dollars, how come they haven’t reported it?”

Costa also called Goddard & Claussen, the Sacramento political consultants running the campaign, “a bunch of greedy consultants feeding off the trough.”

But another driver behind the opposition movement, Calif. Assemblyman Dan Logue (R. Linda) described “Costa’s opposition as ‘sour grapes’ stemming from his failure to secure a lucrative contract – likely exceeding $1 million – to gather signatures,” reports the Fresno Bee.

So the question is: where will the Californians who were rallying behind Costa turn, now? Probably not to No On Valero, a pro-AB32 group that has published a site and is staging protests at Valero stations, calling out Valero’s involvement in the anti-AB32 effort.

Off the streets, the rumblings over whether AB32 will kill or create jobs are also ongoing. Aside from the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office report, which forecasts jobs losses–a claim that was then criticized as “baseless,” another  study on the costs of implementing AB32 this one penned by two professors from California State University, has also been widely criticized. And now one of its authors, , is distancing himself from the report.

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