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Aug 3, 2010 1:00 PM  PST  

Newsom blasts oil companies trying to suspend emissions law 

Mayor Gavin Newsom and his environmental allies came out swinging today, vowing to defeat a November ballot measure that would suspend California's landmark climate change law, which requires major polluters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The measure qualified for the ballot Tuesday after a signature-gathering effort funded by $3 million from Texas-based oil companies Valero and Tesoro.

Up for an environmental fight.

"They say don't mess with Texas," Newsom scoffed. "I say this, don't mess with Californians."

Newsom, campaigning for lieutenant governor under a banner of creating jobs by growing the green economy, said opponents of the state's greenhouse gas reduction law are being "manipulative and misleading."

The effort backed by the anti-tax Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and out-of-state oil companies is being billed as the "California Jobs Initiative." Proponents of suspending AB32, California's landmark environmental law, say requiring companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will hike the cost of gas and electricity for consumers while depriving the state of up to 1.1 million jobs. But proponents acknowledge that number isn't firm, saying: "while estimates vary as to their extent, it's clear that jobs will be lost as a result of AB32."

"There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that," Newsom countered today at a press briefing with members of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. "In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that the real job growth in this economy is in the green sector."

An analysis in March by the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst's Office said AB32's impact on jobs would be mixed, "with gains in some occupations and industries (including so-called 'green' jobs) and losses in others (primarily involving fossil fuel-related energy production)."

In the short term, the likely impact would be a net loss in jobs, but in the long term the impact is unknown, the report said. In both the near and long term, the impact will "probably be modest in comparison to the overall size of the state's economy."

The mayor contends the climate legislation will actually stimulate the economy, pointing to figures indicating green jobs have grown 10 times faster than the statewide average since 2005 and a $9 billion cumulative venture capital investment in California's clean technology industry from 2005 to 2009.

"If (the) defense boom was the godsend of the economy in the '80s, and IT was in the '90s and biotech was in the last decade ... green tech will be for the next, I argue, century in California," Newsom said, adding that the oil companies simply "want to continue to pollute."

Anita Mangels, a spokeswoman for the opponents of AB32, said attacking oil companies that provide jobs in California was a smokescreen for flawed legislation that wouldn't actually reduce global warming.

"It's understandable that they apparently don't feel that they can sell the merits of AB32," Mangels said. "Instead, they try to vilify a couple of entities that are supporting the initiative, but it has nothing to do with the reality of what AB32 will and will not do, and what the measure will or will not do."

She added that "no one is saying global warming isn't a problem," but said it wasn't an issue California can tackle alone.

"We need to address it in such a fashion that we don't bankrupt our state," Mangels said.

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For additional information on this Government Relations and Legislative Updates article, please contact:

John Cote
(510) 845-0472

Source: San Francisco Chronicle
http://SFGate.com

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Tags: AB32 Prop 23

 

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