I live in Boston, Massachusetts. You would think the denial of Proposition 23 in California would make no difference to the clean energy industry in New England, but it does. Right now, California is the leader in renewable energy policies that other states are modeling themselves after. The battle for Proposition 23 is similar to national fight between clean energy and dirty fossil fuels; a battle that clean energy needs to win.
The Proposition 23 campaign, funded mainly by two Texas oil companies was organized to repeal California’s global warming law, AB32. Thiswould also retract 72 existing energy laws and essentially immobilizethe renewable energy industry in the state. The proponents of Prop 23 want us to believethat its sanctions would end needless spending and save Californiajobs. The fine print of Prop 23 says that AB32 would be repealed untilunemployment drops to a fixed level, but the level they are talkingabout has rarely been achieved in California.
So who is this investing millions of dollars in the Prop 23campaign? It is in fact two oil giants, Valero and Tesoro, out ofTexas. Their California oil refineries are said to be in the top tenpolluters in the state. It’s in their best interest to kill competition from clean energy businesses and guarantee our dependence on oil – oil they provide to the state.
California is also known to have dangerous smog levels. The highincidence of asthma and other lung-related illnesses threatens thepublic health of Californians. Air pollution is a major issue toCalifornia and clean energy, like wind and solar energy, ensures that their problems won’t get worse.
Clean energy is also probably one of California’s only bright spotsin an otherwise dismal economy. According to California’s Labordepartment, 500,000 people have green jobs and there are said to be12,000 clean tech companies in the state. Repealing AB32 would actually hurt California jobs and kill renewable energy investment and innovation, which would have lasting effects on the state’s future economy.
The passage of Prop 23 would be bad for everyone, including Massachusetts. Instead of moving the country forward toward clean technology and farther away from fossil fuels, we would be rolling back the clock and using the same old excuses of“it’s not the right time” or “we just don’t have the money.” With newsthat China has surpassed the U.S. to now be the top producer ofrenewable technologies, this is not the time for our country to stepbackward.