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Reagan's Shultz Protecting California's Clean Energy Law From Texas Oil Companies

“As a former Secretary of State, I see our dependence on foreign oil as one of the greatest threats to national security, and the Dirty Energy Proposition would undermine efforts to break that dependence.” says former Secretary of State under former President Ronald Reagan; George Shultz.


The Sacramento Bee reports that the prominent Republican statesman is taking honorary co-chairmanship of Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs, the coalition that hopes to protect California from the Texas oil companies trying to overturn our climate and clean energy jobs legislation this November.

AB32 was passed by voters in 2006, and initial work on it has already started. Oil companies would begin to pay for pollution in 2011, funding rebates to consumers and other clean energy incentives.

To prevent California from implementing AB32, Texas oil companies have created the AB32implementation group and somehow scrounged together 800,000 signatures by investing almost $2 million to get their proposition onto the ballot for voters in November.

To influence California voters, they have invested heavily in scaremongering about the bill, even on our public airwaves.  An oil industry funded NOVA spot ran on PBS this month Energy: the Big Gamble to frighten voters with the dangers of clean energy.

In the same way that the “Healthy Skies Initiative” was not about healthy skies, the oil companies’ AB32 Implementation group is not about implementing AB32. On the contrary, it is about preventing pollution regulation of the oil industry. In the same way, their California Jobs Initiative is not about creating jobs but about furthering the climate change that is California’s primary job killer. Unemployment caused by drought has hit our farmland harder than any other job sector.

Texas oil companies invested the nearly $2 million  in their initiative because California’s cap and trade legislation could become the blueprint for Federal level climate legislation. California frequently is the leader in energy and efficiency legislation that eventually reduces fossil energy use in the the rest of the nation.

For example, California’s more efficient refrigerator mandates of the ’70s helped flatline our own energy use, and now more efficient EnergyStar fridge technology is the standard nationwide. Our California waiver requiring more efficient cars was recently made Federal policy. Our super efficient building codes have gradually become the blueprint for energy efficient building codes that save energy in other states too.

California’s (already enacted) Cap and Trade will go into effect in 2011, unless the oil industry can get voters to remove AB32 in November, or if Republican Meg Whitman beats Democrat Jerry Brown to the post-Schwarzenegger position of governor. Brown supports California’s clean energy economy, while Whitman promises them she’ll “delay” implementation, which the governor can do, a year at a time.

However, now a prominent Republican statesman is heading up the push-back against the dirty energy companies seeking to derail California’s clean energy policy that underpins the state’s national leadership in clean energy. George Shultz is a prominent public figure with a long history as a statesman who served as both Secretary of Labor and of the Treasury before being picked by President Reagan as Secretary of State.

Shultz said in a statement that the proposed initiative would derail “California’s innovative effort to stimulate movement toward a cleaner and more secure energy future.”

“This misguided proposition will seriously harm our effort to encourage the growing entrepreneurial ventures that hold the promise of important change toward cleaner energy,” he said in a statement, one that puts him at odds with Whitman.

Image: Former Secretary of State Schultz between CARB chairman Sawyer, and Schwarzennegger’s former Secretary of the Environment Tamminen

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