California is and has historically been a pioneer and leader in progressive environmental standards and policies both nationally and abroad. We have taken it upon ourselves to lead by example with statewide environmental initiatives, responding to the growing demand and need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on foreign oil. In a few weeks, this reputation will be put to the test when the Prop. 23 measure is up for a vote.
Although some may consider the Proposition 23 vote a debate over the issues, it seems instead to be a stakeholder battle funded by corporate interests. Let’s first consider the fact that the majority of the support for Prop. 23 (and the opposition to AB 32) comes from out-of-state gas and oil companies. Pouring millions into campaigns promoting Prop. 23, companies like Tesoro and Flint Hill Resources are simply looking to protect future profits. They claim that clean fuel legislation has a negative effect on California’s economy and a major instigator of un-employment. That simply is not so.
Rather than reduce unemployment, Proposition 23 would undermine the laws that support the rapidly expanding green technology and business sector. As President of Three Squares Inc., a sustainability consulting firm based in California, we see the need for continuing government support of alternative energy projects. Government funding is crucial for the development of alternative fuel infrastructure, deployment of clean vehicles on the roads, and support for research and development of clean tech ventures that both directly and indirectly create hundreds of thousands of jobs. These jobs create the demand for skilled workers and provide placement opportunities for those who are being trained in these growing fields.
Our company has experienced a 200% growth rate due to our ability to tap into innovative programs that demonstrate successful public-private partnerships. For one such project, our team worked to secure government funding for an alternative fueling station as part of a larger plan for fueling infrastructure development. In this and many other instances, Proposition 23 would significantly impact our ability to bring these technologies to market. A vote for 23 is a vote to support the “business as usual” view of California with endless overcrowded freeways with gasoline-powered cars idling for hours on end. A NO vote on 23 will allow the innovative and forward-thinking policymakers and technology providers to implement systems to clean up our air, water and energy portfolio for a more sustainable tomorrow.
Jaime Nack is the Founder and President of Three Squares Inc., a sustainability consulting firm offering strategic counsel and communications services for companies, universities, non-profits, and government agencies.