The Eclectic and Prominent Opposition To California Ballot Measure Prop 23

A measure on California’s November ballot, Proposition 23, would suspend AB 32, also known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. AB 32 set targets for reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. The list of people, companies and organizations against Proposition 23, reads like a who’s who of California. First, let’s start with people, namely Tom Steyer, founder of hedge fund Farallon Capital Management LLC. Steyer is also the co-chair of No on 23, Californians to Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition. He donated $5 million of his own money to the campaign.

“Proposition 23 really boils down to one thing,” said Steyer. “Do we want California to continue moving forward as a leader in a clean energy economy, including continuing to create new jobs, new economic development and new investment, or do we want to allow two Texas-based oil companies, like Valero and Tesoro to take our state backward and see the clean energy jobs, business and investment in our state go off shore to place like China?”

Next, on the list is the co-chair of No on 23, George Shultz, Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State. In an op-ed piece for the Sacramento Bee, Shultz wrote that Proposition 23 “seeks to derail our future through a process of indefinite postponement of our state’s clean energy and clean air standards.”

Napa winery owner announces opposition to Proposition 23

Farming is one of California’s major industries, so it’s fitting that a Napa Valley winery owner is the next name on the list of those opposed to Proposition 23. Jon-Mark Chappellet, co-owner and managing director of Chappellet Vineyards & Winery of Pritchard Hill in Napa announced his opposition to Proposition 23 this week in an op-ed piece for the Napa Valley Register. “Proposition 23 takes us backward because it would derail California’s landmark clean air and energy policies and slow the growth of the clean energy economy,” Chappellet proclaimed.

Chappellet went on to state that because of climate change California’s grape farmers need to invest in water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. “Proposition 23 is a direct threat to all of these opportunities.”

California utilities against suspending AB 32

Two leading California utilities are against Proposition 23. Southern California utility, Sempra Energy announced its opposition to Proposition 23 last week. Donald E. Felsinger, chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy said in a statement, “We support California’s pioneering effort to transition to a low-carbon economy and AB32 provides the critical path for getting there. Applied properly, AB32 will promote clean technology, create new ‘green’ jobs and reduce air pollution.”

Sempra Energy is the parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas Co., Sempra Generation, Sempra Pipelines & Storage and Sempra LNG.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), one of the largest utilities in the nation, issued a press release in early July which announced its opposition to Proposition 23. Peter Darbee, Chairman and CEO of PG&E said, “Studies show that unchecked climate change could cost California’s economy alone tens of billions of dollars a year in losses to agriculture, tourism and other sectors.”

Health care organizations say Proposition 23 will increase health risks

Two large California health care organizations, Kaiser Permanente and Catholic Healthcare West are opposed to Proposition 23. Why would health care organizations care about AB 32 being suspended? Susan Vickers, Vice President of Community Health for Catholic Healthcare West, pointed out that California has the worst air basins in the country which causes “tens of thousands to suffer from asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses.”

Vickers added, “The state literally cannot afford the health impacts of Prop 23.”

“California’s clean energy law has health benefits, as well as environmental benefits” said Kathy Gerwig, Vice President Workplace Safety and Environmental Stewardship Officer for Kaiser Permanente. “The ballot measure would turn back the clock on laws that protect our public health.”

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.