As if the oil companies from Texas – and their allies in the corridors of power – hadn’t done enough harm to our country already (for more, see the late, great Gulf of Mexico), now they are at it once again. This time, it’s Valero and Tesoro, pouring money into a campaign this election season to undo California’s landmark, clean energy and climate law, AB 32. On Tuesday, the oil companies’ proposition was certified for the November ballot. The fight, as they say, is on!
Why should you care? Let us count the ways.
First and foremost, whether you’re a Californian or not, this campaign should concern you because if the oil companies succeed here, they will try this everywhere – in other states and at the federal level. Mark our words, that’s exactly what they’re up to here.
Second, let’s be absolutely clear about what this proposition says. As the Stop Dirty Energy website explains, “The Texas oil companies want you to believe it’s simply a “temporary” suspension. However, their deceptive proposition would repeal AB 32 until unemployment reached 5.5% for a full year – a market condition that has only occurred three times in the last 30 years.” Which means that this proposition is nothing less than “an effective repeal of [California’s] clean energy and clean air laws.” In sum, they want to kill this landmark law. Period. Don’t let their propaganda fool you into believing anything else.
Third, let’s also be clear who these people are and how utterly deceptive they’re willing to be. According to the Stop Dirty Energy Facebook page, oil companies including Valero and Tesoro recently “released yet another study bought, sold, and paid for by polluters on the impacts of AB 32.” The study, for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) by the California Lutheran University's right-wing economics chief,” is nothing more than “junk economics paid for by polluters that defies the reality that clean tech is the fastest-growing segment of the California economy.” It gets even worse, with the author of a previous, fallacious study by CMTA attacking AB 32 affiliated with the global-warming-denying Heartland Institute, which receives heavy funding from our friends at Exxon Mobil. This institute also enjoys holding conferences to downplay and deny climate science. That’s who we’re dealing with here. That’s who we’re fighting.
Fourth, it’s important to emphasize what’s at stake here. Other than minor matters (ha) like the environment, public health and national security, this is about J-O-B-S. Specifically, the only sector of job growth in California has been in the clean energy technology development sector. For more, watch this video and hear how AB 32=Jobs (and, on the flip side, how killing AB 32 will kill those jobs).
Fifth, this proposition will not just hurt California jobs, it will also hurt Californians’ health and ability to breathe clean air. As the Stop Dirty Energy website points out, this proposition “would create more air pollution in California and threaten public health.” Currently, “California’s air pollution crisis contributes to 19,000 premature deaths, 9,400 hospitalizations, and more than 300,000 respiratory illnesses for California families.” Just imagine how much worse it will be if the Texas oil companies get their way and gut California’s clean air laws!
Finally, as NRDC wrote in a blog post entitled, “California Crossroads, “The oil companies have chosen California as their battleground to crush the progress the State’s made in moving away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy.” NRDC reported from a media event (see photo above) at “Pier 7 on the city’s embarcadero, overlooking the bay that is the largest and most biologically productive estuary on the West Coast” (and also where “the tanker Cosco Buscan ran aground in 2007, spilling more than 53,000 gallons of heavy bunker oil, killing wildlife and providing a harbinger of the great environmental tragedy now unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico”). As the NRDC blog post puts it, “We can’t let Texas oil destroy California’s future simply for the purpose of stuffing more cash into their already bulging coffers.”
That’s why we need everyone – not just Californians, but every American who cares about clean energy and our planet’s environment – to join our efforts at stopping this heinous, Texas oil company-funded Dirty Energy Proposition. Please click here for more information and to join the campaign. Sign up for Stop Dirty Energy Twitter feed, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. Also, check out the NRDC Action Fund Facebook page, as we will be heavily involved in this campaign.
Why does a national organization like NRDC care about a “California issue?” Other than the fact that California is an enormous – and enormously important –state, we care because, clearly, the Texas oil companies are attempting to set a national precedent in California against clean energy and climate action, and we can’t let them do that.
We are convinced that stopping them here, exposing their lies, and deterring others from trying this in the future, is crucial to tackling our largest environmental challenges moving forward. It’s also crucial, we might add, to fight against these well-funded, powerful, corporate polluters attempting to buy our politicians and our Democracy.
Thank you for your help.