Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Ballot Initiative Threatens California’s Pioneering Environmental Policy

A proposed 2010 ballot measure, the “California Jobs Initiative” would dismantle the environmental progress California has made over the last decade in one fell swoop.

The initiative proposes to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) until the state’s unemployment level falls below 5.5%. Since the unemployment rate for the entire nation now surpasses 9% and California’s remains above 12%, this provision would effectively kill AB 32. Assemblyman Dan Logue, the author of the initiative, claims that AB 32 is stymieing employment in California, and that its removal would reinstate jobs. The logic behind this assumption is deeply flawed, as none of the factors that lead to the national recession were caused by environmental policies.

Logue and his supporters, namely the California Business Properties Association and a small Libertarian-leaning organization called the People’s Advocate, introduced an identical bill to the State Assembly, AB 118, which was rejected by the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee on January 11th.

The suspension of AB 32 would amount to a great loss for California and the nation, since the bill is one of the first state-level policies aimed at curbing climate change, and provides the basis and rationale for many pioneering local government policies. AB 32 has been laying the groundwork for many programs and innovations in energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean tech in California: industries that not only create more jobs but help reduce harmful greenhouse gasses, recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a threat to public health.

In fact, climate change-fighting industries have been applauded at the national level as a solution to economic downturn. President Obama recently identified “Jobs Through Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Investments”as a key strategy to accelerate job growth and jumpstart the economy. Sonoma County recently tested this theory with their new Energy Independence Program, a finance program that allows business owners to pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs through property taxes. As the construction industry continues to struggle nationwide, Sonoma County saw an 8.4% increase in construction-related jobs, with a booming $14 million in new contracts as a result of the finance district. In short, investing in energy conservation creates jobs.

We urge you to follow the lead of the State’s environmental experts by opposing the 2010 “California Jobs Initiative” and giving your support to policies that will truly spur job growth while protecting public health and the environment. Logue plans to release the California Jobs Initiative signature campaign on January 26th; please help get the word out about the damaging potential of this measure and prevent its appearance on the November 2010 ballot.

Some Related Posts:

Jobs Created by Recycling


One Giant Step for California's Environment!


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