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Politics and Issues

Proposition 23 on November ballot would suspend our clean energy law

August 2010

Prop 23 would suspend California’s clean energy and clean air law. Four years ago, with support from businesses and environmental and health organizations, California passed AB 32, a law that sets new clean energy and pollution control standards in California. This clean air and clean energy law has launched our state to the forefront of the clean technology industry—sparking innovation and clean energy businesses that are creating hundreds of thousands of new California jobs. If passed, this initiative would kill competition and jobs from clean energy and technology businesses and stifle billions of dollars in economic investments.

Prop 23 is funded largely by two Texas oil companies, Valero and Tesoro, which are the seventh and eighth largest polluters in California. Combined they are responsible for almost 17% of reported emissions in the state.

AB 32 has put California in a unique position to corner the clean tech market. California’s clean technology sector received $9 billion in cumulative venture capital investment from 2005-09, including $2.1 billion investment capital in 2009—60% of the total in North America and more than five times the investment in our nearest competitor, Massachusetts.

If AB 32 is suspended, it will send a chilling message to investors and open the door for other states. According to the nonpartisan State Legislative Analyst, the suspension of AB 32 could: “dampen additional investments in clean energy technologies or in so-called ‘green jobs’ by private firms, thereby resulting in less economic activity than would otherwise be the case.”

Projections of economic disaster resulting from AB 32 have been thoroughly debunked by independent economists and Legislative Analyst. Those seeking to suspend AB 32 cling to several studies by a Sacramento professor claiming economic doom and gloom. However, the Legislative Analyst recently evaluated these studies and concluded: “Our review of this study indicates that it contains a number of serious shortcomings that render its estimates of the annual economic costs of state regulations essentially useless.”

Vote no on Prop 23.