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AB 32

Statewide Tour Urges Governor Brown to Stop Fracking

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 14:11:55 PM PST

Coalition Calls on California to Move to 100% Renewable Energy  

Governor Jerry Brown has constantly touted his "green energy" and carbon trading policies at press conferences and photo opportunities while he enthusiastically supports the expansion of fracking in California and is rushing the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels.

In his Inaugural Address on January 5, as his "green" environmental policies had driven Delta smelt and American River steelhead to the lowest population levels in recorded history, the Governor gushed:

"In fact, we are well on our way to meeting our AB 32 goal of reducing carbon pollution and limiting the emissions of heat-trapping gases to 431 million tons by 2020. But now, it is time to establish our next set of objectives for 2030 and beyond.

Toward that end, I propose three ambitious goals to be accomplished within the next 15 years:
Increase from one-third to 50 percent our electricity derived from renewable sources;
Reduce today's petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent;
Double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner."

While Brown and his staff continue to greenwash the Governor's neo-liberal environmental policies, thousands of Californians will convene over the next week as part of the "California Crossroads Tour" calling on Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking, stand up to Big Oil, and "move California beyond fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy," according to a news release from Californians Against Fracking.

By standing up to Big Oil, anti-fracking activists are taking on the most powerful corporate lobby in California, the oil industry. The oil industry's campaign to expand the environmentally destructive practice of fracking in California is overseen by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create fake "marine protected areas" in Southern California's heavily-fracked waters.

"California is at a crossroads," said David Braun of Californians Against Fracking and an organizer of the tour. "Our governor and our elected officials need to decide if we're going to be a real leader on climate change, or if we will continue to allow fracking and other dangerous extractions methods that put our communities and environment at risk."

"Californians around the state are affected by the oil industry in different ways-whether they are exposed to dangerous toxins from living near a drilling site, have potentially explosive trains rumbling through their neighborhoods carrying crude oil-but we all stand to lose if we continue to ignore warnings that spell out doom if we don't put an end to the use of fossil fuels," said Braun.

Leaders from Californians Against Fracking are traveling to eight cities over nine days as a part of the California Crossroads Tour, designed as an opportunity for community members and experts to speak out against the negative health and environmental impacts of high-risk oil drilling, wastewater injection into deep disposal wells, and the prospect of a dramatic increase of oil by rail.

The tour kicked off on Monday, January 12, at the King Chavez High School auditorium in San Diego and will stop in Los Angeles, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Delano, San Juan Bautista, and Oakland. It will culminate Jan. 20 at the State Capitol in Sacramento, where residents will deliver messages from communities across the state to Gov. Jerry Brown, organizers said.

"In California, communities facing the threat of fracking are taking actions to protect themselves," according to the coalition. "In 2014, Santa Cruz and Mendocino counties joined the city of Beverly Hills in passing measures to ban fracking and similar oil extraction techniques. San Benito County voters also approved a fracking ban with a 59 percent majority, despite a $2 million opposition campaign by the oil industry."

The City of Los Angeles is considering a ban and two cities in Los Angeles County-La Habra Heights and Hermosa Beach-are slated to vote on fracking and oil projects in March. A livestream of the event at the Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles will be available Jan. 13 from 7-9 p.m.

The tour will be followed up by the February 7 "March for Real Climate Leadership" in Oakland that is hosted by a broad group of partner organizations and will bring thousands of people from across the state into the streets of Oakland to "call on Governor Brown to ban fracking, stand up to Big Oil, and move beyond fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy." More information is available at marchforclimateleadership.org.

Californians Against Fracking is a coalition of about 200 environmental business, health, agriculture, labor, political and environmental justice organizations working to win a statewide ban on fracking in California. Follow @CAagainstFrack on Twitter

CONTACT: Juan Gastelum at 310-905-3191, Juan.Gastelum [at] berlinrosen.com
Niketa Kumar at 610-659-2544, Niketa.Kumar [at] berlinrosen.com

Big Oil Money and Power in California

While there are many powerful industries based in California, ranging from the computer and high tech industry to corporate agribusiness, no industry has more influence over the state's environmental policies than Big Oil.

The oil industry has spent over $70 million on lobbyists in California since January 2009, including record amounts of money spent during the third quarter of 2014, according to a recent report written by Will Barrett, the Senior Policy Analyst for the American Lung Association in California. (http://www.lung.org/associations/states/california/advocacy/climate-change/oil-industy-lobbying-report.pdf)

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) the most powerful corporate lobbying organization in Sacramento, topped the oil industry spending with a total of $31,179,039 spent on lobbying since January 1, 2009. Chevron was second in lobbying expenses with a total of $15,542,565 spent during the same period.

From July 1 to September 30 alone, the oil industry spent an unprecedented $7.1 million lobbying elected officials in California "with a major focus on getting oil companies out of a major clean air regulation," said Barrett.

And this doesn't include spending on ballot measures or the recent election, including Chevron spending $3 million (unsuccessfully!) to elect "their" candidates to the Richmond City Council. Big Oil also dumped $7.6 million into defeating a measure calling for a fracking ban in Santa Barbara County and nearly $2 million into an unsuccessful campaign to defeat a measure banning fracking and other extreme oil extraction techniques in San Benito County.

Not only does Big Oil spend many millions every year on lobbying and campaign contributions, but its representatives also serve on state and federal regulatory panels and fund "Astroturf" campaigns to eviscerate environmental laws.

In one of the most overt conflicts of interest in California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, served as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force to create fake "marine protected areas" in Southern California. Not only did she serve on this panel, but she also was a member of the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.

These so-called "marine protected areas" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

People need to understand that the millions Chevron and other oil companies have spent on lobbying, campaign contributions and setting up "Astroturf" groups promoting the oil industry agenda are small change to Big Oil. The five big oil companies - BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, Exxon Mobil and Shell - made a combined total of $93 billion in profits last year. Big Oil's estimated profits in 2014 were over $96 billion. (http://www.stopfoolingca.org/)  

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Climate Change Cash

by: Brian Leubitz

Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 13:02:36 PM PDT

Money would be directed towards carbon emissions

by Brian Leubitz

AB 32, our landmark climate change legislation, will have some enormous impacts on the state's economy and the government. However, there's this:

The amounts are potentially enormous: from $1 billion to $3 billion a year in 2012 and 2013, jumping to as high as $14 billion a year by 2015, according to the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst's Office. By comparison, the state's current budget deficit is $9 billion.

But like thirsty castaways on an island surrounded by ocean water they can't drink, Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators face strict constraints on how they can spend the money. More than 30 years of court rulings and ballot measures -- dating to Proposition 13 in 1978 -- limit its use, probably only to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.(Media News)

The state already has some spending lined up, including helping to pay for cleaner burning trucks for the ports. There is likely to be some benefit for the budget, as spending for climate change programs are shifted away from the general fund. However, unless the legislation is changed, it isn't the solution for the deficit.

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California Green Jobs Growth Outpaces Rest of the Economy

by: Rebecca Saltzman

Wed Jan 19, 2011 at 16:05:23 PM PST

(Cross-posted from Groundswell, the California League of Conservation Voters blog.)

Today a report was issued by our friends at nonpartisan think-tank Next 10 that shows green jobs in California growing more than three times faster than overall state employment.

It wasn't so long ago that Texas oil companies and other supporters of Proposition 23 (the Dirty Energy Proposition on the November 2010 ballot) were arguing that California's landmark clean energy policies needed to be suspended because enforcement would stunt the state's economic recovery. Next 10's report shows just the opposite: The green job sector is leading the state in economic growth.

The report shows that between 1995 and 2009, green jobs expanded from 111,000 to 174,000, growing 56 percent. And this growth is happening across the state and across multiple job sectors.

The Bay Area and the Sacramento Area led the state in green job growth, expanding by 109% and 103% respectively since 1995. Job growth hasn't been confined to Northern California though - green jobs grew in Orange County by 67% and the San Joaquin Valley by 55%.

From 1995 to 2009, the energy generation sector created the most green jobs, adding nearly 20,000 jobs across the state, including almost 3,000 jobs from January 2008-2009, at the height of the economic recession.

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HItting the phones in San Rafael

by: Tom Steyer for Calitics

Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:24:02 AM PDT

Although I had received an incredibly supportive welcome from campaign organizers at the San Francisco office, I was happy to move to the simpler tasks of the grassroots campaign, for which I felt much more qualified.

I have been working primarily out of an office in San Rafael, run by two members of Green Core who recently graduated college. I spend my time phone banking, meeting with volunteers and attending rallies in the surrounding area.

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Governor Schwarzenegger Moves All In On Prop 23

by: Brian Leubitz

Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 09:00:00 AM PDT

Governor Schwarzenegger and Meg Whitman aren't really seen around town too often.  Whitman can't seem to get far enough from Arnold, and with his record, who would blame her.  Yet, as Meg Whitman attempts to make California into Texas, Governor Schwarzenegger is lashing out at the terrible Texas two, Valero and Tesoro, who have been funding Prop 23's effort to kill California's regulation of greenhouse gas pollution.

Schwarzenegger, speaking before several hundred people at the Commonwealth Club in Santa Clara, said the proponents of Prop. 23 are attempting to subvert the democratic process using scare tactics. He likened the campaign to a shell game hiding what he said was the real purpose: "self-serving greed."

"They are creating a shell argument that they are doing this to protect jobs," the governor said. "Does anybody really believe they are doing this out of the goodness of their black oil hearts - spending millions and millions of dollars to save jobs?"

Schwarzenegger said AB32, which he signed into law in 2006, will create jobs by allowing California to establish a "green economy" featuring solar energy, hydrogen power, bio-energy and a renewable electricity standard that will provide "the seed money for the world's energy revolution."

The only job losses or costs, he said, would be in polluting industries like Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp., both of which have refineries in California that climate experts say are sources of greenhouse gas emissions.(SacBee)

The tone of Schwarzenegger's attacks were as surprising as anything else, so it is worth watching the Olbermann clip up top to here the audio of the speech.  He puts the lie to the notion that Prop 23 is going to "save a million jobs."

It is striking that Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has attempted to throw the state off the cliff through his shock doctrine budget techniques.  But even for him, this is a bridge too far.

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California League of Conservation Voters Endorses Jerry Brown for Governor

by: JenesseMiller

Tue Sep 21, 2010 at 17:31:09 PM PDT

The California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV, the non-partisan political arm of the environmental movement in California, today announced its endorsement of Jerry Brown for Governor of California. To watch CLCV's endorsement video, visit http://www.ecovote.org/blog/clcv-endorses-jerry-brown-governor

"CLCV is proud to endorse Jerry Brown to become California's next Governor," said CLCV Chief Executive Officer Warner Chabot. "As Attorney General and as a former Governor of our great state, Jerry Brown has a stellar record of protecting the environment and public health through his leadership on and tough enforcement of our state's environmental laws."

"The November gubernatorial election offers clear choices for California voters," said CLCV Board of Directors President Tom Adams. "Jerry Brown is the only candidate for governor with both an unwavering commitment to the environment, and a clear plan for California to lead the nation to a clean energy economy."

"I am grateful to have the endorsement of the California League of Conservation Voters," said Jerry Brown.  "Our coastline, farmland, mountains, deserts and urban environments all make up the great and unique landscape of California. I have always believed that environmental protection and California's long-term economic prosperity go hand-in-hand and I will continue to promote both as Governor of California."

A key difference between Brown and his Republican opponent Meg Whitman is their position on Proposition 23, the oil industry-backed repeal of California's landmark clean energy and climate law (AB 32) on the November ballot. Brown joins business and military leaders in opposing Prop 23. He recognizes that California's policies resulted in venture capitalists investing billions of dollars in California's clean tech sector, and vigorously defends the climate law from attacks by out-of-state oil companies.  

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Prop. 23 Is Debated - and the Millennial Generation Is Tuned In

by: Tom Steyer for Calitics

Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 12:06:32 PM PDT

This is the first installment of what we hope will become a regular father-daughter, intra-generational effort to share concerns and fears, as well as ideas and hopes about the future of California's environment. - Tom

Tom Steyer:  

I was in Sacramento last week to debate Assembly Member and Prop. 23 author, Dan Logue. As part of my role as the No on Prop. 23 Co-Chair, I'm going to be publicly arguing the 'no' side of this measure as often as they'll let me. I've been a passionate and practicing environmentalist for a long time now - and I put my money, and my time, where my mouth is.

And so I found myself in Sacramento.  

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San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders Says No on Prop 23

by: Brian Leubitz

Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 11:16:00 AM PDT

Jerry Sanders isn't always the right-wing's favorite.  He testified against Prop 8, and is generally a little bit too moderate for extremism that is the bulk of the Right today.  Now, to call him a moderate is to pretty much ignore his record in San Diego.  Perhaps he's towards the middle of the California GOP, but really, is that saying all that much?

At any rate, the big news is that Sanders has now announced that he is opposing Prop 23, the dirty energy proposition that would turn back the clock on California's landmark regulation of greenhouse gas pollution.

"The clean-tech sector is booming in San Diego," Sanders said in a release from the No on 23 campaign. "These companies have moved to San Diego because they stand to thrive and prosper as the state seeks to meet its greenhouse-gas standards over the next few decades.

"Proposition 23 would throw these businesses into chaos by eliminating those greenhouse-gas standards. It would also eliminate a powerful incentive for other clean-tech companies to relocate or expand here." (SD U-T)

And this is the reason that you are seeing many folks who usually line up on the other side opposing Prop 23.  It represents a tremendous opportunity for California to be a leader in green technology.  Rather than being a "job killer" as Carly Fiorina alleges, our regulation of greenhouse gas pollution is a real win-win.

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Conservatives Push Meg Whitman to Endorse Prop 23

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 16:00:00 PM PDT

Over at the Flash Report, Jon Fleischman wrote a post about why Meg Whitman needs to endorse Prop 23:

Meg Whitman has made it abundantly clear that her campaign is tightly focused on a few key area - one of them being jobs and the economy.  There is no doubt that AB 32 is a job-killer.  Whether she is the next Governor of California or not, our state will be better positioned to come out of this recession is AB 32 is mothballed until the economy is humming - which will likely take a lot longer than the next Governor's ability to temporarily suspend AB 32's draconian regulations for just a year.

First, I welcome this.  I think campaigns should be about ideas.  And in this case, Jerry Brown is strongly opposing Prop 23. Meg Whitman, well, like all other areas, she's nowhere to be seen. Instead, she airs another million of TV and pretends that she is owed something.  Let's have a real debate, and see Whitman take a strong position one way or the other.

Of course, this being a conservative discussion, you have to toss in some willful ignorance to have a real party. Besides the throwaway use of "Democrat Party", (I get it, very cute, Jon.) you have a heaping helping of climate denial:

There is certainly a vibrant debate taking place in the scientific community about whether or not changing temperature around the globe are tied to actions of people on the planet, or possibly part of a large, epic cycle of atmospheric change that is naturally caused.  

To that, well, the quick response is no, there isn't a vibrant debate.  Ignorance does not make a debate vibrant.  Study after study after study show that humans are contributing to climate change, trying to come up with some false dichotomy only distracts us from finding long-term solutions.

Whitman has been skating along on her vagueness for too long. Whichever way she chooses to come down on Prop 23, she should give the voters a sense of who she really is.  As of right now, all we have is a few snippets from 30 second spots.

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Just Who Are These Prop 23 Financiers?

by: Brian Leubitz

Wed Aug 11, 2010 at 09:57:55 AM PDT

Prop 23 FundingSure, you might be rocking your Boycott Valero bumper sticker, but have you thought about who this particular oil company is?  Or Tesoro, the other big Texas oil company funding AB 32 greenhouse gas pollution regulations? Well, as the Ella Baker Center found out as they did some digging, they are a pair of companies that has consistently and repeatedly trashed the environment.  Some examples:

On July 26, Tesoro settled with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to settle 44 air quality violations  that included excessive releases of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and ammonia. The company agreed to pay the district $366,375. In 2008, it paid $1.5 million to settle air quality violations in Martinez.

Valero was cited earlier this year. On June 17, Valero released hydrocarbon, hydrogen sulfide gas and coke material into the atmosphere from its coker unit in Benicia. Four refinery employees were reportedly injured, and staff reported numerous air quality violations associated with the incident. (CalWatch)

Of, course there is a lot more, and you can find the details in the report (also available over the flip).  Both of these companies are trying to exploit the initiative system to shut down critical long-term planning for our environment for their own short term gain.  

But the market will correct for that, right? Well, not so much. This is a classic market failure.  Companies are in no way forced to pay for their emissions, so neither their products nor their inputs are properly priced.  And they push for less regulation because their management is hung up on short-term share price, rather than the long-term stability of the company. After all, it's "rational" for the current leadership to do so because they won't be there when the house of cards all falls down.

Take while the taking's good, and leave the mess for the next sucker.  But, with Prop 16, California voters told the corporate world that while our initiative system can be bent, it isn't completely broken yet.  No matter how much you spend, you can't win with money alone.

UPDATE: I've added a graph of the funding for Prop 23. As you can see, the bulk of the money has come from out of state oil companies trying to exploit our initiative system for their own short-sighted gain. Click the image for a higher resolution version.

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It's Ok for Texas to Mess with California?

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 14:45:04 PM PDT

I've admitted it in the past, and I will continue to be open and honest about who I am.  I am comfortable in who I am, and how I have become the person that I am.

I grew up in Texas.

As I grew up, I constantly saw these commercials with different celebrities saying/singing don't mess with Texas.  And while it's pretty hard to argue with Stevie Ray Vaughn and the general anti-littering message, it isn't quite so difficult to call them out on their political machinations.  Since the past election, Texas Governor Rick Perry has been in the spotlight quite a bit.  Not a big surprise, considering he discussed the idea of secession approvingly.

PhotobucketBut, I guess it's cool when Texas messes with California.  Because apparently the Texas oil companies think that they can buy the elimination of AB 32's historic regulation of greenhouse gas pollution.  Today, Valero, of boycottvalero.com fame, announced another $3 million for the Yes on Prop 23 campaign.

Valero Energy Corp. dropped another $3 million into the Proposition 23 campaign, according to campaign finance filings reported Friday to the Secretary of State.

The Texas-based oil company has contributed more than $4 million to the initiative, which would suspend California's landmark greenhouse gas emissions reduction law until the state unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. Tesoro Corp., another oil company based in Texas, has also contributed more than $500,000 to the campaign.(SacBee)

Prop 23 would essentially end California's regulation of greenhouse gases and put us back to square one. Instead of being a nationwide leader, we would be back waiting for the federal government to act.  (And yeah, that 5.5% unemployment is virtually unobtainable, so Prop 23 would end AB 32 for all intents and purposes.)

This is absolutely the wrong way to go for California.  Just while we are building up our green economy, we cannot turn our back on one of the few growth industries in our state.  If Texas wants to continue on the way of the dinosaur and fossil fuel, that is for Texas to Decide.

But in California, we value our environment, and all the millions that Valero has poured in will not change that.

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High Stakes for Climate and Clean Energy in California

by: Lowell Feld NRDC Action Fund

Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 06:39:50 AM PDT

As the full scope of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico continues to unfold, there's another energy-related drama in California. This one threatens the Golden State's landmark law (AB 32)  to limit the greenhouse gas pollution that is already harming California and to promote a host of related clean energy policies that would benefit the state. A proposition that is now certified for the November ballot, Proposition 23 --  known as the "Dirty Energy Proposition" -- would kill investments and job creation in the new energy economy already spurred by AB 32 since it was enacted in 2006. This is one of the most important environmental campaigns of 2010, with implications far beyond California.

Two of the worst polluters in California, Texas-based oil companies Valero and Tesoro, are also funding this backwards ballot measure (Proposition 23) that would effectively repeal AB 32 and the clean energy policies such as clean fuel standards, pollution controls, and energy efficiency associated with the law's implementation.

The Texas-based oil companies supporting this ballot measure also have an insidious national strategy. They hope that by rolling back climate and energy policies in California, they can block progress in other states and derail federal climate legislation in Congress. Windfall oil profits allow these oil companies to pour millions of dollars into their campaign of disinformation, distraction, and deception.  It is also worth noting that Valero and Tesoro were recently named the #12 and #32 polluters in the nation in the "Toxic 100 Air Polluters" report issued by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Political Economy Research Institute (PERI).

The bottom line is that we must stop Prop 23, which threatens to stunt and obliterate job growth in California's emerging clean energy sector (e.g., energy efficiency, solar, advanced building materials, and others).  In contrast, California's economy would benefit greatly from a properly implemented AB 32. As the Stop Dirty Energy Proposition website reports:

  • "According to a new report by California's Employment Development Department, more than 500,000 employees already work part or full-time in so-called 'green' jobs."
  • "In recent months, dozens of companies have announced they would be locating manufacturing plants in California, specifically because of [the] state's progressive clean energy laws." These companies include Tesla, Solyndra, Nanosolar, and Kyocera.
  • "There are 10,000 megawatts of renewable power in California currently competing for federal stimulus dollars – directly because of AB 32. The total public and private investment from these projects is $30 billion and 15,000 new jobs."
  • "Creating energy efficient commercial and residential properties and retrofitting existing buildings will create tens of thousands of jobs in California and billions upon billions of economic activity directly for building trades workers and product manufacturers."

There's strong agreement among scientists that California's on the right track and that turning back state law is a very bad idea.  Earlier this week, 118 economists wrote a letter which explained that "[d]elaying action...before initiating accelerated action to reduce global warming gases will be more costly than initiating action now." The economists added that policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging the development of clean energy will "improve our energy security, create new business opportunities and more jobs, and provide incentives for innovation."

Why would anyone want to stop this progress?  For an answer to that question, you need to ask the Texas oil companies, although it's easy to figure out what their motivation might be. Hint: it's a word beginning with the letter "m" and rhyming with "funny."

Fortunately, there's a large and (rapidly) growing coalition fighting against Prop 23.  A few highlights include: the League of Women Voters of California, Google, Levi Strauss, AARP, Pacific Gas & Electric, Consumers Union, the California Teachers Association, California Interfaith Power and Light, Governor Schwarzenegger, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and the California Federation of Labor. This past Sunday, the California Democratic Party unanimously voted to oppose Prop 23, declaring:

The California Democratic Party opposes Prop 23 because it will kill jobs, increase air pollution, and undermine our transition to a clean energy economy," said Tim Allison, chairman of the CDP's Environmental Caucus. "The Texas oil companies' dirty energy proposition is bad for our economy, our air and our energy future."

Also worth noting is that former Reagan Administration Secretary of State George P. Shultz has signed on as "honorary co-chair of Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs, a coalition opposing a proposed ballot measure to suspend the implementation of AB32."  Shultz says, "As a former Secretary of State, I see our dependence on foreign oil as one of the greatest threats to national security, and the Dirty Energy Proposition would undermine efforts to break that dependence."

For all those reasons, and many more, I strongly encourage everyone to fight Proposition 23 and to defend California's landmark clean energy and climate law.  Thank you.

P.S. Also, see this new video by Edward James Olmos.

Take action today for a cleaner, stronger, and more sustainable future. Join NRDC Action Fund on Facebook and Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest environmental issues and actions you can take to help protect our planet.

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Should Oil Lobbyists Write and Implement California's Environmental Laws?

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 19:12:03 PM PDT

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the chair of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, apparently believes that oil industry lobbyists should not only oversee the implementation of California environmental laws, but write them also!

On July 12, Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), told Sacramento Bee reporter Rick Daysog the following nugget of environmental wisdom, in reference to AB 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006):

"I'm not going to say we love this thing, but if that's the way the state wants to go ... we want to make sure that we write regulations that we can comply with and are feasible to do."

Hold on there, Catherine - I thought that the Legislature and public officials, not oil lobbyists, were supposed to write laws! Not only are you a key official responsible for overseeing the MLPA, but you now consider yourself charged with the task of writing California's environmental laws also?

Schwarzenegger appointed the oil industry superstar to oversee the implementation of the MLPA for the South Coast. She also sits on the MLPA task force for the North Coast and and sat on the task force for the North Coast

While she is willing to kick Indian Tribes, fishermen, divers and seaweed harvesters off the water to create so-called marine protected areas (MPAs), she has proclaimed numerous times in recent months the need for new oil drilling off the California coast. Incredibly, she does this as the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, the BP Oil Gusher, continues to ravage the Gulf of Mexico and its fishing communities.

Reheis-Boyd, who was apparently installed on the three MLPA panels to make sure that marine reserves don't intrude upon the oil industry's present oil drilling operations and future plans, is no Rachel Carson or John Muir. Maybe I'm missing something, but calling for new oil drilling off the California coast doesn't seem like marine "protection" to me.

For example, in her latest commentary on the association's website, http://www.wspa.org, Reheis-Boyd stated, "WSPA has not taken a position on specific offshore projects. But we have been vocal about our views that California businesses and consumers would benefit from development of the huge reserves of petroleum off the California coast, in both state and federal waters."

Then on June 22 in an op-ed on the Noozehawk website, Reheis-Boyd attempted to gloss over the public outrage over the BP Gulf Oil Gusher by touting the "very good" safety record of the oil industry (http://www.noozhawk.com/opinions/article/062210_catherine_reheis-boyd).

"We realize that recent events in the Gulf of Mexico have shaken public confidence in our industry's ability to produce oil safely," she said. "However, our industry's safety record around the world, around the United States and here in California has been very good."

Reheis-Boyd should try to tell the fishermen and residents of Gulf Coast communities now devastated by the daily carnage in the BP disaster about the oil industry's "very good" safety record. But she doesn't care about these communities, just as she doesn't care about the coastal Indian Tribes, fishermen, divers and coastal communities threatened by false marine "protection," Schwarzenegger-style.

At the same time that she is overseeing fishery closures that will drive many family fishermen off the water, she hypocritically argued against "the calls to ban new offshore oil exploration and to shut down existing offshore production" in an op-ed in the Capitol Weekly (http://www.capitolweekly.net/article.php?xid=yzigjrke9jpi4f) on July 15, claiming that "thousands of jobs are at risk in this debate."

"It's important that we be smart at the same time we are cautious," she stated. "We need to understand what happened in the Gulf of Mexico and what can be done to ensure it never happens again. In the meantime, we can't afford to disrupt the routine maintenance of oil production operations or worse, continually threaten to shut down existing offshore production. Thousands of jobs are at risk in this debate and our struggling economy cannot afford any more shocks."

So Reheis-Boyd is "concerned" about the loss of oil industry jobs, but she doesn't care at all about the thousands of fishermen, seaweed harvesters and Tribal members that she and her MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force colleagues want to remove from the water?

The MLPA was a landmark law signed by Governor Gray Davis in 1999. Unfortunately, the MLPA Initiative under Schwarzenegger has nothing to do with real marine protection, since oil drilling, water pollution, wave energy projects, habitat destruction and all other human uses of the ocean other than fishing have been completely taken off the table. The panels that designate marine reserves are overseen by oil industry, marina development, real estate and other corrupt corporate interests.

However, the most shameful thing about this process is how the representatives of "Big Green" environmental NGOs such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Ocean Conservancy and League of Conservation Voters have greenwashed Schwarzenenegger's MLPA fiasco, continually claiming that it is an "open and transparent process." These folks apparently think that there is nothing wrong with oil industry, real estate, marina development and other big business interests dominating what passes for marine "protection" in California.

The MLPA was designed to protect ocean resources, but tribal leaders in the Coastal Justice Coalition say that the current initiative is "an attempt by the Schwarzenegger Administration to greenwash his legacy." In a protest challenging MLPA officials, 40 members of local American Indian Tribes took over the MLPA Science Advisory Team meeting in Eureka on June 29, demanding that they not be blamed for the decline in ocean fisheries.

"We gathered and harvested the ocean's bounty for thousand of years in a sustainable manner," said Frankie Joe Myers, a Yurok ceremonial leader and member of the Coastal Justice Coalition. "For California to blame Tribes for it's reckless mis-management of our fisheries for the last century is simply appalling,"

The MLPA, funded privately by the Resources Legacy Fund Fund Foundation, paves the way for deep water drilling off the California coast while trying to kick tribes, the stewards of the ocean for thousands of years, off their traditional gathering sites on the coast. The MLPA represents elitism, racism and environmental injustice at its worst - and Tribes, fishermen, seaweed harvesters and real environmentalists will continue to resist this insidious program to privatize the oceans!

Stormy Staats of the Klamath-Salmon Media Collective has produced a great video covering the protest by the Coastal Justice Coalition at the MLPA meeting in Eureka. You can view the video on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/kl...

You can expect similar testimony to be provided at the July 21-22 Blue Ribbon Task Force meetings in Ft. Bragg. Agendas for these meetings are available at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/mee... A noon rally in support of fisheries and protesting the MLPA Initiative will be held at the southeast corner of Oak and Main Streets in Fort Bragg that day.

For more information about the Coastal Justice Coalition, call Frankie Joe Myers, (707) 951-5052. For more information about the Fort Bragg demonstration, call Mike Carpenter, (707) 937-4362.  

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Gavin Newsom: Making the Environment His Personal and Political Mission

by: Ella Arnold

Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 15:36:13 PM PDT

                 "We're not waiting for permission or for someone to save the day-we have to take action now."
                                                                                                                                                       -Gavin Newsom

San Francisco Mayor and California Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom is a man who stands up for what he believes in. His willingness to take bold political risks and his unwavering personal integrity have led him to constantly be ahead of the curve on many important social and economic issues, from marriage equality and universal health care to homelessness and education. But the environment is truly the sole issue where Mayor Newsom's unrelenting desire to create revolutionary reform by staying true to his personal convictions is most apparent.

Mayor Newsom's political record proves that he is a fierce and passionate advocate for the environment. In 2006, while most of this country's leaders were engaged in a contentious debate over whether or not climate change is real, Mayor Newsom had already authored the Urban Environmental Accords, closed a fossil-fuel burning power plant, created the country's largest alternative fuel fleet of buses and cars and passed numerous laws to help San Francisco's residents and businesses be more environmentally conscious. From solar panels and mandatory composting and recycling to authoring the strongest municipal green building standards in the United States for new construction and major renovations, Mayor Newsom has turned San Francisco into one of the greenest cities in the world and has established himself as one of the greenest mayors in the country.

When it comes to the environment, Mayor Newsom makes an effort to practice at home what he preaches in public. He owned a Saturn EV1 electric car in the 1990's, recently purchased a Tesla Roadster and his official mayoral SUV is a hybrid. His winery, CADE, located in Napa, recently received Gold LEED certification, making it the first winery in the state to achieve this status. Though Mayor Newsom openly admits that "it's not enough that [he has] an electric car", it is clear that he, like many Californians, is dedicated to living a greener and more sustainable life.

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No Rest for the Weary Electorate

by: hbj

Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 12:26:09 PM PDT

This piece originated at Speak Out California.

While California takes the summer off, the wealthy use their extraordinary wealth to undermine the state's future.

While grills all over California are still smoldering under the weight of July 4th hot dogs, burgers and maybe a veggie-burger or two, those with unlimited resources (and who most likely grilled steaks instead), continue their barrage on the senses of Golden State residents.

With all that money, there's no need to respect the notion that these are the "dog days" of summer, when those lucky enough to have jobs try to sneak in a restful vacation or two with their families and friends and those who are out-of-work try to find some, or if not at least find solace in the fact that summer tends to be slow in the work-place anyway. But for E-Meg and the big oil companies, this is no time to let the rest of us relax.

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TX Oil Companies Try to Kill CA Clean Energy Legislation

by: NRDC Action Fund

Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 10:52:22 AM PDT

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.

NRDC Action Fund

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Oxy, Tesoro and Valero: Drilling at the Ballot Box

by: Rick Jacobs

Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 10:10:41 AM PDT

In the aftermath of Katrina, nearly everyone pitched in to help (except George Bush, but that's an old story).  Even Wal-Mart lent is vaunted logistics expertise to the devastated Gulf Coast.

This time around, in a man-made disaster more insiduous than Katrina, the oil industry that chomps at the drilling bit to pump crude from any crevice without regard to consequence, sits idly by, unwilling to lift so much as a pen to help out in the Gulf.  Worse still, Occidental Petroleum, Tesoro and Valero, along with a few secretive allies, have put up over $2 million to pass an initiative here in California that would effectively elminate AB 32, our land mark green economy and clean air legislation, simply to make more money from fouling our state. They see BP and raise a California.

That's why Courage Campaign Thursday called on those companies to donate at least that much money to efforts to rehabilitate the Gulf, to help the tens of thousands whose lives have been upended or worse by the petro-sharks.

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Why I'll Be a Better Governor for California than Jerry Brown

by: Peter Schurman

Tue May 04, 2010 at 10:08:51 AM PDT

Note from Robert Cruickshank - Calitics has a policy of promoting diaries from electeds and candidates to the front page when the diaries are topical, important, or provide valuable information to our readers, and this one certainly counts as all three. However, this should not be construed as an endorsement of Peter Schurman.

Cross-posted at Huffington Post and at Daily Kos.

On June 8th, Californians will choose our party nominees for Governor.  I'm running as a progressive challenger to Jerry Brown in the Democratic primary.

For nearly twenty years, I've been a bare-knuckled fighter for regular people and common-sense, progressive values. I was the Founding Executive Director at MoveOn.org, America's strongest progressive advocacy organization. Although I've never run for elected office, I am qualified to be Governor and here's why I'll do a better job for California than Jerry Brown.

California needs a fighter right now.  Six-plus years of Republican rule have left our state in crisis.  We need a leader committed to aggressively confronting and cleaning up the mess the Republicans have made, not someone who wants to split the difference.

Here are three of the biggest challenges facing California.  As our party's front-runner, Jerry Brown should be facing these issues head-on.  Instead, he's running away from them.

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The Stage is Set: AB 32 Goes to the Ballot

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon May 03, 2010 at 10:15:50 AM PDT

Today, the oil companies behind the plan to repeal AB 32, our landmark climate change legislation, will submit their signatures to the Secretary of State.

California voters will decide the fate of the state's landmark global-warming bill in the November election after a big-bucks battle that may break records for political spending on an initiative.

Today, a group heavily backed by Texas oil giants Tesoro Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. plans to submit signatures for an initiative seeking to suspend AB32 until California's unemployment rate improves dramatically. ... AB32's proponents call it a vital step in efforts to curb greenhouse gases and create green jobs. And with federal climate-change regulations stalled in Congress, the California law takes on added significance as a potential model for other states. (SF Chronicle)

Of course, the oil companies say that it "hurts jobs" without a whole lot of evidence. Of course, to the contrary, California stands as the world's leader in clean tech. We stand an amazing opportunity to build upon that success. However, if we take a step backward, investors will shy away from the state when we are able to move forward in the future.

Look, at a time when we are facing an unprecedented environmental catastrophe, we just can't be moving in the wrong direction.  And Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner as well as nearly every statewide candidate have all taken positions favoring repeal. I think Chuck DeVore is personally emitting extra hot air just to piss off the environment, which, according to DeVore is his to exploit.  

But, other statewide candidates seem to want to avoid the subject. Funny how some like to play every side of the issue.

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Meg-o-Mercial Doubles Down on AB 32

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Apr 26, 2010 at 12:11:02 PM PDT

Meg Whitman's big infomercial wasn't quite the prime time affair that President Obama's was, but she did find time to lay out just how extreme she's getting on issues of climate change.

On the substance, the Whitman infomercial repeats many of her now tried-and-true campaign slogans (focus "on just three things" as governor, "100% against amnesty"). But there were a few nuggets that either sounded a bit different, or highlighted issues in a way that merit at least a mention.

Whitman repeats her support of a one-year delay in implementing the state's landmark global warming bill, AB 32. But rather than a more measured response, in the infomercial she flat out calls the law "a job killer."(Capitol Notes)

This might not seem all that big, but she is now attaching her banner solidly behind the repeal AB 32 side. The language is straight out of Valero's talking points.

And on her "cut 40,000 employees" talking point, John Myers does a little bit of fact-checking:

On the now familiar Whitman criticism of too many workers employed by the state, the candidate takes a more firm stance about why these positions (40,000, she's promised) can be eliminated. She tells the audience that this is the amount by which the state workforce has grown since 2004.

"It's not front line employees," says the candidate. "It's not the CHP, it's not CalFire, it is the bureaucracy."

A bit more thorough reporting than can be done on a Sunday is required, but even a general review of state data online shows that Whitman's "bureaucrats" must include employees of the state prison system - where the workforce has grown and costs have noticeably increased. There are now some 69,000 corrections employees (more than half are guards), and as the department's own report states, 70% of the prisons budget comes from staff salaries and benefits.

It's really great when you can sort of spin a yarn and nobody calls you on it. Whitman wants to slash the "bureaucracy" by 40,000. Ok, so, how's about we get a little more specific. Let's see Whitman come up with 40,000 jobs that she would like to cut.

Of course, she won't actually do it, but her nonsensical and out of context call for the heads of state workers is both unproductive for the state and a simple act of scapegoating. But, we've come to expect both from Whitman, and this was her TV ad, after all.

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