Whitman Resists Tea Partiers

By Published On: September 24, 2010

Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman announced she opposes Proposition 23 September 23. The ballot measure would block the state's greenhouse gas reduction law, AB 32, if approved by voters this November. "I consulted policy experts and thought carefully about what each proposition would to do help our state immediately start creating the good jobs we need as well as put our state’s financial house back in good order," the Republican stated. Earlier, she called for a one-year suspension of AB 32. Just before her announcement, she was reported to have been inundated by calls from Tea Party members to back the ballot initiative, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "Radical environmentalists and socialist liberals are putting the pressure on Republicans to come out and oppose Prop. 23. They’ve already got Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on board," Tea Party Express organizer Joe Wierzbicki wrote in an email to tea partiers. Prop. 23 supporters suffered another blow September 23 when the California Public Utilities Commission voted to oppose it. Commission president Mike Peevey admonished Southern California Edison, unlike the state’s other investor-owned utilities, for not opposing the ballot measure. "I wish Edison would join the progressive community. My God, I just don’t understand it," Peevey said. Commissioner Tim Simon was a tad kinder to the pro-Prop. 23 forces. He said that those who brought on the ballot measure are not to be rejected. "We can't just dismiss critics [of California’s climate change law] as Big Oil Texas wackos," Simon said. Carly Fiorina, Republican Senate nominee, was reported en route to Washington D.C. for a fundraiser hosted by pro-Prop. 23 advocates David and Charles Koch, according to the Sacramento Bee. The neo-conservative Koch brothers poured in $1 million to help increase the odds of the measure’s passage. Earlier in the week, a coalition of social justice organizations announced that it is working to get minority voters to the polls this November to defeat Prop. 23. Under the banner Communities United Against the Dirty Energy Prop., the groups—including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the California Environmental Justice Alliance—plan to focus on getting out the vote in low-income areas and communities of color, it stated September 20. The groups maintain these communities are more inclined to vote against the ballot measure because of their concern about environmental pollution, according to polling data. The measure is being pitched by the other side as one that encourages jobs. The coalition joins the growing ranks of organizations and individuals fighting the proposition. A powerful team of ex-governors is advising the California Air Resources Board to adopt a price ceiling in any carbon cap-and-trade program aimed at carrying out the state’s climate change law, AB 32. The ex-governors recommend that when the price of carbon hits the price ceiling, the state should sell credits into the market based on offsets external to the state program itself. The offsets, for instance, could come from international forestry projects that sequester carbon from the atmosphere. "It is critical that adequate supplies of offsets be available sooner rather than later at prices below the price ceiling," wrote the three former governors, Gray Davis, Pete Wilson, and George Deukmejian. One possible mechanism for infusing offset credits into the market, they wrote, would be for the state to give the credits to utilities and require them to auction them off. Utilities would use the proceeds to benefit their customers and invest in further greenhouse gas reduction projects, subject to regulatory direction. To help maintain California manufacturing industries that face out-of-state or international competition, they recommend that the state provide manufacturers with free emissions credits. They also recommend tax breaks for manufacturers subject to AB 32. Finally, the trio recommended that California develop a green freight plan to help maintain the preeminence of its ports in the face of the Panama Canal widening project, due to be completed in 2014. The former governors outlined their advice in a letter to the Air Board last month. As California pursues cap-and-trade, carbon trading nationally is down this year, according to a Government Accountability Office report issued September 20. Total carbon trading in 2009 amounted to between $2.4 billion and $2.7 billion, according to GAO, with offsets accounting for about $74 million. GAO reported carbon trading this year has "fallen sharply," with volumes in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program down 85 percent as of June from the $2.1 billion in action last year. The plunge comes amid regulatory uncertainty surrounding the fate of federal cap-and-trade policy, according to the report.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now