Suspension of AB32 Likely Headed to Voters as Opponents Point to Louisiana

A campaign to suspend California’s landmark greenhouse gas law, known as AB32, has succeeded in gathering enough signatures to put the question on the November ballot.

The California Jobs Initiative gathered over 800,000 signatures in support of their ballot initiative, almost twice the amount needed.

The initiative seeks to suspend AB32, which puts a cap on state-wide greenhouse gas emissions, until unemployment stays below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. Opponents say the unemployment rate has only been below that number for a full year three times in the last 30, and the effort is really an attempt to kill the bill.

If, as expected, the signatures are approved by state officials, the question of whether to suspend AB32 will be put before voters as one of the many “propositions” Californians are routinely asked to consider each election cycle.

But the effort to suspend AB32, which has been largely financed by out-of-state oil companies Valero Energy Corp and Tesoro Corp, may be tarred by the expanding oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and supporters of AB 32 have been quick to make a connection between the two.

Steven Maviglio, spokesperson for Californians for Clean Energy Jobs, said “with their dirty energy proposition, the oil companies want to do to California’s air and economy what they’re doing to the Gulf Coast.”

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a strong supporter of AB 32, slammed into “greedy oil companies” seeking to postpone the law. “They want us to depend on just oil, because they’re greedy and they want to have the profits,” he said at a press conference Monday. “But I don’t have to tell you about the oil companies, because you just turn on the TV — that says the rest.”

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.