Anthony Corso | Stratford Court
No doubt Prop 23 on the November ballot will prove to be a memorable and critical contest—one having a substantial impact upon future environmental policies and programs at the national and state levels.
If passed, Prop 23 will suspend AB32, California’s extraordinary clean air and renewable energy legislation referred to as “the Global Warming Act of 2006.”
It will mandate that major environmental legislation be detained until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% or below for four quarters, which hasn’t happened since the 1970s.
The Global Warming Act currently requires that the level of greenhouse emissions in the State be cut to the 1990 level by 2020. It also includes a stipulation allowing the Governor to suspend the provisions of the Act if “extraordinary circumstances” were to occur, such as “significant economic hardship.” The Governor is not expected to suspend it, since he feels it is essential in terms of economic recovery and could generate thousands of jobs in the alternative energy field.
Several newspapers allege that proponents of Proposition 23, the “Anti-Environment-California Jobs Initiative,” are primarily oil corporations from Texas and the Midwest. The biggest of these are Valero and Tesoro oil Corporations, who have donated $4 million and $500,000 respectfully in support of AB23. Valero’s current annual report acknowledges that its financial interests would be diminished by any laws halting greenhouse gas emissions and that any clean air legislation would have an adverse effect on its financial position.
Indicative of the forthcoming electoral battle, clean energy investors are raising funds to counter the claims of Prop 23 proponents. Defenders of the current legislation include individuals and companies seeking alternative non-traditional sources of energy such as fuel cells, solar and wind energy, as well as numerous environmental groups and individuals. Thus far they have reportedly raised $5.5 million.