Proposition 23: The Dirty Energy Proposition Will Kill Clean Jobs and Increase Pollution


In 2006, California passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), making our state a leader in fighting global warming by reducing greenhouse gases and serving as a catalyst to the state’s growing green jobs market.  This election, out of state dirty energy producers are funding Proposition 23 to undo all of that and turn back the clock on our state’s clean energy future.  Click here to learn more.

Largely funded by two Texas oil companies – Valero Energy and Tesoro Corporation – Prop 23 promises to overturn California’s innovative climate change law and presents California voters with a stark choice: build a clean energy future or burn the planet.

Perhaps the greatest impact Prop 23 would have if it were to pass is the impact on people: a worsening of the air Californians breathe and an entire workforce – the green jobs and clean technology sector – would have the rug pulled out from under them.

“Proposition 23 will kill markets and the single largest source of job growth in California in the last two years,” says Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. “Not only that, it’ll kill investment in the long term for creating the next 10 Googles.”

Small wonder that the clean tech industry strongly opposes Prop 23.  But clean tech companies aren’t the only ones opposed.

The nonpartisan Small Business California opposes Prop 23, and groups fighting for environmental justice, like the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center, are getting the word out about the harmful impact the measure will have in their communities.

It’s important to note that virtually all of Prop 23’s support and funding comes from two out-of-state oil companies who are among the greatest polluters in California: Valero Energy and Tesoro Corporation.

Just how much dirty energy campaign cash have these two Texas oil giants poured into Proposition 23?

Valero has pumped more than $4 million to Proposition 23 in the last few months and Tesoro has given $1.5 million. Those numbers are expected to rise as the campaign to overturn California’s clean energy law heats up.

What’s more, a shadowy Missouri conservative group with ties to big coal, whose spokesman criticizes “liberal politicians” in California with “crazy radical ideas,” has donated $500,000, even though last December it only had $109 in its bank account.

The Texas oil companies are following in the not-so-noble recent tradition of corporations placing self-serving initiatives on the ballot; see, e.g., June 2010′s Prop 16 funded by PG&E which would have barred municipal utilities from competing with PG&E; and Prop 17 funded by Mercury Insurance which would have benefited the bottom line of auto insurers such as Mercury.

Prop 23 is but the latest and most egregious example of corporations abusing the initiative process and buying their way onto the ballot.  However, California voters are not fooled that easily; they voted down Propositions 16 and 17, and likewise should vote no on Proposition 23.

Please check back for more updates on the campaign to defeat Proposition 23 and visit our volunteer page to get involved.

The California Democratic Party urges a “no” vote on Proposition 23.


Written by RLMiller, a California native and blogger who regularly blogs on Daily Kos.

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