Schwarzenegger blasts oil companies backing ballot initiative to suspend Calif. climate law

By Robin Hindery, AP
Monday, September 27, 2010

Schwarzenegger blasts big oil, defends climate law

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday blasted the out-of-state oil companies that are trying to undermine California’s global warming law, saying they are motivated purely by greed.

Companies such as Valero Energy Corp., Tesoro Corp. and Koch Industries are spending millions of dollars to manipulate the will of Californians and “buy votes,” the Republican governor told the Commonwealth Club.

Their motivation, he said, is “self-serving greed.”

The companies are sponsoring Proposition 23 on the Nov. 2 ballot, which would indefinitely suspend California’s 2006 law that calls for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Opponents of the law, AB32, say it will place a financial burden on businesses and cost California jobs. They propose delaying its implementation until the state’s unemployment rate falls from its current 12.4 percent to 5.5 percent and stays there for a year.

“All this will do is put the global warming law off until unemployment is at a rate closer to what it was when Legislature passed the law, and until a time when California won’t be going it alone,” said Anita Mangels, a spokeswoman for the Yes on 23 campaign.

Schwarzenegger said the law may cost some jobs but will more than make up for the losses by boosting the clean-technology industry. He questioned the true motivation behind the oil companies’ support for the ballot measure.

“They really don’t just want to suspend it, they want to kill this initiative, kill our laws,” he said. “Does anyone really believe that these companies, out of the goodness of their black oil hearts, are spending millions and millions of dollars to protect our jobs?”

Mangels called the governor’s comments “disappointing,” and said the list of Proposition 23 supporters extends far beyond the petroleum industry.

Schwarzenegger’s address came on the four-year anniversary of AB32, which requires the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020. The California Air Resources Board is currently developing regulations to implement it.

The governor warned that the passage of Proposition 23 would have repercussions far beyond California.

“This is not just about California; it is about America’s economic prosperity and leadership in the years ahead,” he said of the climate law. “California is America’s last hope for energy change.”

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