Prop 23 Future Past

Delaying the Future: Prop 23 tries to stop the clock  100210

It was quite a blow to the oil industry when Arnold Schwarzenegger lead the legislature into enacting AB32 in 2006.  The law was, on the one had, relatively mild, asking only that the state take 8 years (from 2012 to 2020) to roll greenhouse emissions back to where they were sixteen years before, in 1990.  Because of how swiftly petroleum use has grown during those years, it will be tough, but much of the industry in the state has been working towards green energy anyway, so not that tough.

To do this, though, it implements a number of programs, one of which is to reduce our oil dependence, and balance that reduction out with renewable fuels.  Them is fightin’ words for some.  Rolling back Greenhouse gases means, primarily, reducing the use of petroleum fuels.

Prop 23 is being called by some the “California Jobs Initiative” probably because the “California Corporate Profits Initiative” sounded a little one sided.  It doesn’t actually over-turn AB 32, it just suspends it until hell freezes over.*  
Eight of the top ten supporters of the Proposition are oil companies; leading the pack are Valero Energy ($4+ million), based in Texas, and Tesero ($1.5 million), also based in Texas.

Valero: based in Texas but still worried about your job?  Map is link

Tesero: their website says more than we could say; link.

A major supporter of Prop 23 is 3rd District Assemblyman Dan Logue.  Logue is a reliable anti-environmental conservative.  Logue, early on, relied on some bogus “research” to attack AB 32.  A Prospect report looked at Logue’s position HERE  and deconstructed the “research” HERE  and did a short piece on Logue’s failed bill to undo Ab 32 HERE .

Dan Logue.  Probably not Yosemite Sam’s grandson,
though DNA tests have never been conducted.

AB 23 is bad politics at its best: oil companies are bankrolling it and turnip capitalists nailing up yard signs, and the press is treating it like a real contest of ideas.
And, to good effect, since polls seem to indicate that Prop 23 is very close.  Why is it so close?  There was strong support for AB 32 in 2005.  Has the environment healed itself so quickly?

We all know the reasons, and they are two fold.
1. The economy.  We’re in a depression, and it isn’t over by years, no matter what pundits for Wall Street say.  Jobs have been on the decline in our area for decades, and that decline isn’t going to suddenly reverse.  As a state we’re broke and unemployed and have no confidence in government; indeed, a Field Poll  indicates the support for the legislature is at an all time looooowww.  
2. We are sick of being over-regulated.  The recent assault on agriculture in the Air Resources Board and Water Resources Board regulations are great examples.  We have to stop using our old diesel cattle trucks and tractors, why?  Because a few thousand people in California, a state of 26 million people, might have died from cancer caused by diesel?  Fix something else.  We can’t afford to have septic systems because “brown trout” are appearing in the waters of the Central Valley somewhere?  So, don’t swim there, turds most likely aren’t the problem anyway, it’s the toxic chemicals people use in the laundry, in the bathroom; pass laws against household poisons, instead, do something that effects the massive pollution caused by cities.  Regulation has festooned, imposing on our lives in untenable ways.  We’re chasing a purity that has no meaning, a reduction of risk from acceptable to unimaginable.  It’s enough to cause a thinking person to put up a picture of Yosemite Logue.  

Between our fear of losing our jobs, our mis-trust of government and the immense burden of bad regulation, we’re very vulnerable to bad ideas, and might be on the verge of undoing some very good work.
AB 32 isn’t perfect, and it is going to hit people in remote areas the most, unless someone comes to their senses and implements it correctly.  Even so, we all stand to gain.  Our dependence on oil is an addiction we can never shake, but we can try to control it.  In the process, some jobs will be created, jobs that probably won’t go away.  Small businesses are already profiting by manufacturing innovative new product to capture the energy of the sun.  We in the rural areas will benefit if the carbon in our hills is recognized as renewable, and if we can find ways to reduce the petroleum products needed to harvest and transport it.  
People forget that there was a tremendous effort to develop infrastructure for oil.  Government spent huge amounts to encourage auto traffic, to the benefit of oil companies and car companies (and everything “drive thru”).  It’s time, even in hard times like these, to energize our economy by moving toward the future, not stagnating to drain the last bit from the past.

AB 32 is the future, but oil companies and conservatives aren’t ready for the future, yet, they want it down the road, when hell freezes over.  They’d rather turn us all into turnip capitalists who imagine that, somehow, if we ally ourselves with the wealthy, we’ll become wealthy, too.

The truth is, Prop 23 isn’t going to touch any of the regulations which most impact us, and the benefit we’d gain from delaying the future isn’t worth the future we’ll lose.

Ignore the pretty green “save jobs” signs.  Vote “no” on Prop 23.

*Slight exaggeration; the unemployment rate would have to be 5.5% or less for four consecutive quarters, something that’s happened 3 times since 1980.  More like “when it rains in hell”.
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