Voters heading to the polls November 4 face choices involving hundreds of billions of dollars aimed at remaking energy policy in the coming decade. That includes increasing renewable energy and reliance on natural gas in California. Voters will set the federal course on power generation and greenhouse gas emissions. Whoever wins the White House is expected to tackle global warming. The candidates differ, however, when it comes to promoting offshore drilling, nuclear energy, and ethanol fuel. In Southern California\u2019s Inland Empire area, they also face a key Assembly race that could send a former Democratic energy regulator to Sacramento in place of a conservative Republican who has voted against many renewable energy measures. Former California Public Utilities Commission member Democrat Carl Wood hopes to take over the Republican seat (see story below). In the final days before the election, spending is ramping up on both sides of Proposition 7, with the \u201cyes\u201d campaign spending $8.9 million through October 18 to pass the measure that would increase the renewable power mandate from 20 percent in 2010 to 50 percent by 2025. The \u201cno\u201d side had spent $29.6 million (Circuit, Oct. 3, 2008). The opposition--funded largely by the state\u2019s investor-owned utilities--features a who\u2019s who of renewable energy industry players and environmental organizations. They claim the measure is poorly drafted and stands to shut down progress on renewable energy for years. \u201cCalifornia\u2019s renewable power market is just gaining steam under current policies,\u201d said Nancy Rader, California Wind Energy Association executive director. \u201cProposition 7 would create uncertainty and pull us out of the marketplace and into administrative hearings and courtrooms.\u201d However, the yes campaign has been picking up supporters too, including former Pacific Gas & Electric energy research and development program manager Carl Weinberg. In endorsing the measure, Weinberg called it \u201cgood public policy\u201d and said that after reading it closely he \u201ccannot reconcile it with the statements made by those opposed.\u201d In another energy contest, T. Boone Pickens continues to pour money into advertising for Proposition 10, through his natural gas vehicle fuel company Clean Energy. Spending on the campaign totaled $17.2 million by October 18, with the commercial blitz continuing in the home stretch. Opponents of the measure--led largely by the Consumer Federation of California--had raised only $108,000. However, the federation organized a broad coalition of organizations and state leaders to speak out against Proposition 10. The measure would call on the state to issue $5 billion in general obligation bonds, largely to pay rebates to motorists who purchase alternative-fueled vehicles, mostly those that run on natural gas. One provision of Proposition 10 would pay $50,000 rebates for replacing big rig diesel trucks with natural gas models (Circuit, Oct. 10, 2008). The Office of the Legislative Analyst calculates that with interest the proposition would cost state taxpayers $10 billion by the time the bonds are retired. California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols opposed Proposition 10 in a letter October 22. She said that its truck rebate provides no assurance that the natural-gas-powered big rigs would remain in California. They could be moved across state lines. However, a former state air official differed with Nichols. \u201cNot only will it reduce California\u2019s dependence on foreign oil by reducing petroleum usage but it will also help us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and remove dangerous toxins from our air.\u201d said John Dunlap, past Air Board chair. The Yes on Proposition 10 campaign also points out that the measure would provide $1.25 billion to bolster use of solar and other renewable energy technologies to make power in California.