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Published on July 6th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer


PG&E Opposes Big Oil-Sponsored Prop 23

July 6th, 2010 by  

Today, PG&E formally came out in opposition to Prop 23, the oil-company-sponsored ballot initiative that is designed to shut down AB32 – California’s progressive climate legislation passed by voters in 2006 and due to be implemented in January 2011.

“Since actively supporting the passage of AB 32, PG&E has worked with the California Air Resources Board, California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission and other stakeholders to make AB 32 a success and a model for other jurisdictions to follow” said Jonathan Marshall in an email.

“Contrary to this responsible approach, Proposition 23 would suspend the law indefinitely, despite the critical need to combat climate change at the state, national and global level”.


AB32 was the subject of well heeled attack by Texas oil companies, by strangely large donations from mysterious small out-of-state front groups, and recently even by PBS – a long-time recipient of funding from Exxon-Mobil – which weighed in with a shockingly disinformation-rich NOVA piece titled  “Energy: the Big Gamble!.”

With unprecedented funding, the oil companies prevailed in finding enough signatures to get Prop 23 on this November’s ballot, despite this moniker from current Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown fixed atop of each petition: “Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year” to replace the oil companies’ Luntzian  “The California Jobs Initiative.”

PG&E says that it is working closely with policymakers “to ensure that the law’s vital environmental objectives are achieved at the lowest possible cost to customers and the California economy”.

One example of this is the 250 MW of distributed energy on rooftops that PG&E is adding one megawatt at a time through many smaller companies, bypassing the two and three year environmental reviews that slow utility-scale solar down.

Another example is PG&E’s recent investments of $100 million in SunRun, and $61 million in Solar City. Both add essentially free solar panels with no upfront cost to rooftops, with payments lower than current monthly electric rates.

PG&E has a foot in both camps. The “Good” Pacific Gas & Electric is one of the leading utilities in clean energy, a member of US-CAP, and WeCanLead.org pushing congress to pass clean energy legislation.

But it also has natural gas plants and could have seen its interest in joining the fossil interests that are trying to get California voters to change their minds about moving the state towards a clean energy economy.

Image: HaPix

Susan Kraemer @Twitter

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

  • TW

    I have to say the world isn’t a great place if, when we report on an amendment to the State constitution, we talk about the companies that support and oppose it, and not the voters. The irony of it all: CA Governor Hiram Johnson supported the initiative process to get around the Assembly that was in the pocket of Southern Pacific RR and the other robber barons of the Gilded Age. And here we are, once again, dealing with corporations- this time, two oil companies from Texas, trying to rewrite the State Constitution, and we have to hope that we have a corporation or two to fight them off.

    • We are in deep trouble, all right, for exactly that reason.

  • krissy

    exxon has killed my once objective pbs. you would think they’d want to make money with new technologies. I guess theyll be left in the dust trying to make money off a dwindling resource.

    • Yeah, I’m old enough to remember PBS back when it was actually publicly funded and wasn’t reliant on Big Oil and Big Ag for its worldview, still, most NOVA is still OK: science-based, so that out+out bunch of lies was a real shock.

  • Earl Richards

    The California Jobs Initiative (CJI) is an oil corporation farce and fraud.

    There is no connection, whatsoever, between greenhouse gas emission reduction and the loss of jobs. This notion is an insult to the intelligence of the people of California.

    In fact, there is job growth in the clean, renewable energy industry. Chevron employs 65,000 worldwide and CJI is not going to change this. The only jobs created by the oil industry are clean-up jobs after oil spills and deep water, blow-outs and pump-handler jobs.

    CJI will make fantastic profits for the oil corporations and increase air pollution, especially around their refineries, and there will not be a decrease in gasoline prices.

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