Proposition 23’s Eclectic Opposition Versus Its Oily Supporters

California ballot initiative Proposition 23 is pitting out-of-state fossil fuel companies against a plethora of people who oppose it, including Bill Gates and Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin. Both Gates and Brin have recently contributed to the anti-Proposition 23 campaign.

Add President Obama to the list of those opposed to the proposition. “The president is opposed to Prop. 23 — a veiled attempt by corporate polluters to block progress towards a clean energy economy,” White House spokesman Adam Abrams announced Wednesday. “If passed, the initiative would stifle innovation, investment in R&D and cost jobs for the state of California.”

Joining Obama in opposing Proposition 23 is Al Gore. Last week, Gore urged Californians to vote no on the ballot initiative. Gore said the proposition would “turn the clock back on the climate crisis.”

While it is really no surprise that Obama and Gore are opposed to Proposition 23, it is surprising that Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State, George Shultz is opposed to it. Shultz wrote in a September op-ed piece that the proposition “seeks to derail our future through a process of indefinite postponement of our state’s clean energy and clean air standards.”

Outgoing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, spoke very strongly against Proposition 23 last month:

“They are creating a shell argument that they are doing this to protect jobs. Does anybody really believe these companies out of the goodness of their black oil hearts are spending millions and millions of dollars to save jobs?”

“Today, Valero and Tesoro are in a conspiracy. Not in a criminal conspiracy, but a cynical one about self-serving greed. Does anyone think in their black oil company hearts that they want to create jobs?”

“Valero and Tesoro want to stop the movement from old energy to new energy because its means lost market share.”

The Independent Energy Producers Association (IEPA), one of the oldest non-profit trade groups in California, is opposed to Proposition 23. IEPA Executive Director Jan Smutny-Jones said in a statement that the proposition “will undo the remarkable progress green energy generators are making in California – and put thousands of clean energy workers out of work.”

The California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) supports Proposition 23. CMTA vice-president Dorothy Rothrock recently said in a debate, “They are not oil companies.” Rothrock was speaking of Tesoro and Valero.

California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Corporation, one of the largest utility companies in the U.S., is against Proposition 23, unlike the two oily Texas companies bankrolling the ballot initiative. Peter Darbee, Chairman and CEO of PG&E said, “Thoughtful and balanced implementation of AB 32 is one of the most important opportunities we have to avoid this costly outcome while spurring new clean-tech investment, innovation and job creation in California.

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

6 responses

  1. PROP 26 is just as destructive as PROP 23. Prop 26 is a treacherous, Big Oil rip-off, which “passes the buck” from oil corporation, clean-up fees to the taxpayer, who will pay the oil recycling fees, the materials hazard fees and other fees. If you do not understand the ambiguities and the intrigues behind Prop 26, then, vote no. Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell are silent partners behind Peop 26. Power to the people.

  2. Yes its those greedy Wall street Venture Capitalists who will have to stop eating at the State taxpayer feeding trough if Prop 23 passes.
    Maybe you might even get lower utility rates if they no longer have to support state subsidized more expensive alternate energy fuels.

  3. The key thing to keep in mind is that, according to CARB, the organization who wrote and will enforce AB32, AB 32 will do NOTHING to help global warming, will cost jobs and have a negative effect on the economy. This comes from the very people who drew it up!

    AB 32 does nothing for local pollution.

    Prop 23 leaves us with the toughest pollution laws in the country, among the toughest in the world. It will NOT increase local pollution

    If Proposition 23 is rejected, here is what will happen according to expert sources:

    •A 60 percent increase in your electricity bill according to the Southern California Public Power Authority.

    •An 8 percent increase in your natural gas bill according to CARB’s economic analysis.

    •$50,000 more for the price of a new home according to an analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    •$3.7 billion a year more for gasoline and diesel according to Sierra Research.

    •A $1,000-$3,000 additional cost for a new car according to CARB and automaker studies.

    On top of all that, a study conducted for the California Small Business Roundtable found that AB 32 regulations would cost small business alone nearly $200 billion, and would result in more than 1 million lost jobs.

    The more I learn about AB 32, the more I fear it. It just gets worse. Please vote yes on Prop23.

    “”2 Guys on the Bay Area Transportation Board told the CARB people, “If you try to do what you are going to do(AB 32) we’ll have gas at $9.07 a gallon and we have freeway tolls at up to $4,500 a year to drive during rush hour.”

    “Part of the plan is to stop suburban development, get people to stop driving, make driving too expensive for people to live out there, force them to live in high-rises, condos, in the city.”

    For months, John and Ken have made Prop 23 their top priority, calling it a necessary step to stop a law they say will kill jobs and cost Californians a fortune in higher gas and energy prices. With an estimated one million listeners per week, these two guys usually manage to rally enough votes to get their way.

    The video has John and Ken explaining why they think this bill is the most important measure on the ballot.

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