Texas oil firms behind California greenhouse gas initiative
Under a ballot initiative approved Tuesday, a California greenhouse gas law could be suspended until unemployment numbers improve. Critics say the initiative is a veiled attempt at advancing Big Oil's agenda.
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The coalition of politicians and environmentalists issued a statement that referenced the environmental destruction brought on by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "It will be interesting to see how Californians react to a local environmental mess in the making that's been bought and paid for by out-of-state oil companies that are already polluting our Golden State,” it read.Skip to next paragraph
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But the ballot initiative has nothing to do with the BP oil spill, counters Anita Mangels, communications director for the group behind the initiative. “It’s disappointing that proponents of AB32 have spent so much focus on the Gulf oil spill and other issues that have nothing to do with reducing greenhouse gases in California," she said. "This law will cost a million more jobs and mean higher energy costs, and with well over 10 percent of Californians out of work, we simply can’t afford it.”
California made global headlines with the passage of AB32. The law, also known as the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 – includes emission-cutting measures widely thought to fundamentally benefit California’s economy and public health.
The California Air Resources Board's (CARB) economic analysis of the program, released in 2008, predicted the regulations would increase economic production by $27 billion, overall gross state product by $4 billion, and personal income by $14 billion. An accompanying public health analysis concluded that AB32 would help prevent 300 premature deaths statewide, avoid almost 9,000 incidents of respiratory symptoms, and avoid 53,000 workdays lost to illness.
Supporters of AB 32 have come together to criticize the oil companies behind the initiative and praise the impacts of AB32. The law has already spurred a large market for clean tech energy sources, they say, and provide a list of 300 beneficiaries that “reads like a who’s who of the clean-tech world,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Valero, which owns two California refineries, has mounted an aggressive campaign against federal efforts to pass climate legislation, says Mr. Maviglio. Postponing California’s rules to limit greenhouse gases could aid that national strategy, he says.
Officials of Valero Energy Inc. and Tesoro Corp. declined to comment for this article.
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