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Climate Law Ban Ballot-Bound, But Schwarzenegger Bolsters Support of AB32

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Wednesday June 23rd, 2010 | 0 Comments

Back in May, the California Jobs Initiative submitted to California’s Secretary of State’s office more than 800,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure to stall implementation of the state’s 2006 landmark law designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since that’s nearly double the number of signatures required for a measure to make the ballot, it was all but certain that the measure would qualify for the November ballot. And so it has, announced the Secretary of State’s office announced late Tuesday.

But in reaction to this news, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who opposes the ballot measure and a much-maligned study from the state’s Analyst’s Office that predicts implementing the law would worsen California’s employment numbers, swiftly expressed his continued support of AB32 and called out the link between the ballot measure and the Texas oil companies that support it:

This initiative sponsored by greedy Texas oil companies would cripple California’s fastest growing economic sector, reverse our renewable energy policy and decimate our environmental progress for the benefit of these oil companies’ profit margins. I will not allow this to happen on my watch. We will continue moving this state forward with our comprehensive energy policy that creates jobs, reduces our reliance on foreign oil and ensures the California we love will be the California we hand over to the next generation.

The ballot calls for suspending the climate law, AB32, until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters. That, alone, goes a long way to burst the bubble of enthusiasm that has built up around the law since its passage in 2006. And the official ballot language that California voters will be presented this fall, really drives home the impact of such a ban:

Requires State to abandon implementation of comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries, until suspension is lifted.

But one must wonder whether, the Deepwater Horizon spill–which had not yet happened while all those 800,000 signatures were gathered–might still be on voter’s minds when they go to vote on November 2. (Indeed, might it still be spilling?!) And if it may push them toward voting against the ban, in hopes of advancing the role of renewable energy in California’s future. What do you think?


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