Clean Power IEP claims proposition 23 will eliminate thousands of clean energy jobs

Published on October 24th, 2010 | by Tina Casey


California’s Oldest Trade Organization Comes Out Against Proposition 23

October 24th, 2010 by  

IEP claims proposition 23 will eliminate thousands of clean energy jobsThe Independent Energy Producers Association is a leading non-profit California trade organization and the oldest of its kind in the state. Together, its members represent about one-third of California’s generating capacity, so when IEPA speaks, people listen.  Yesterday IEPA Executive Director Jan Smutny-Jones spoke. He issued a statement declaring that “Proposition 23 will undo the remarkable progress green energy generators are making in California – and put thousands of clean energy workers out of work.” This is a pretty forceful declaration for a major business group, so let’s see what’s behind it.

IEPA and the Oil Industry

IEPA was formed in 1982 and its mission is pretty straightforward, which among other things is to “ensure that California remains a healthy market for development in the independent energy industry.” The focus on forward development makes sense, given its membership. Though IEPA includes members that operate certain gas-fired facilities and co-generation plants, its main thrust is away from fossil fuels and into clean tech including biomass, geothermal, small hydro, solar, and wind. The passage of AB32, California’s landmark climate legislation, has helped to give IEPA’s mission a huge boost. Much of that would be undone by the passage of Proposition 23. This ballot measure is backed by oil companies that are based out of state, which have devoted millions to ad campaigns and payments to researchers for developing studies that favor their position.

IEPA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Smutny-Jones’s statement puts IEPA squarely at odds with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been pouring millions into attack ads across the country that are primarily directed against candidates who support clean energy legislation. In California, the Chamber has funded ads attacking the incumbent Senator, who is opposed to Proposition 23, and it has officially endorsed her challenger, who supports Proposition 23.

IEPA and the National Slate of Candidates for U.S. Senate

California is not an isolated case. A couple of other examples are Pennsylvania, where Joe Sestak is under attack, and Virginia, where Tom Perriello faces a challenger who favors oil drilling off the Virginia coast. In fact, when you look at Senate races across the country, IEPA has staked out a position that is the polar opposite of the entire slate of candidates put forth for Senate by a major U.S. political party: virtually all of them oppose clean energy legislation, and many have expressed doubt and downright denial over the science of climate change. In contrast, IEPA simply posts Governor Schwarzenegger’s statement affirming the power of regulated markets to reduce greenhouse gasses and “make California No. 1 in the fight against global warming.”

Energy Giants Duke it Out

CleanTechnica has previously noted how environmental battles have evolved from a fight between citizens and corporations, to an all-out war between competing business interests with job opportunities for millions of Americans at stake. This election cycle is just a midterm but make no mistake, it’s going to make history. With this much at stake, don’t sit on the sidelines. Get out and vote!

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

  • No on prop 23 but as Earl mentions- prop 26 will really be the kicker. No on 26 too.

    I think the difference between people’s awareness on those two props really shows how money is the only way to win a ballot measure. sadly.

  • In my opinion the IEPA is delusional. It wants to promote green gadgetry that costs ten times the proven alternatives, financed by subsidies and tax breaks that in the end must be paid by the California public. Moreover. It (AB 32) is based on a myth: the CO2 myth, and the fact that all the efforts to be expended under AB 32 will not affect atmospheric CO2 concentrations or temperature one iota.

    It seems mindless to create an industry that is entirely dependent on a myth combined with government regulations for its viability. Eventually the myth will be recognized by all and the governmental rug will be pulled out. AB 32’s ultimate destiny is to crash.

    Check on the history of the Kenetech windmill company in the 1990s. The current green gadget folks will be heading the same way.

    Instead of letting Green Tech get bloated on a fabricated bubble, better to let the air out now and redirect investments to real red, white and blue jobs that you can depend on for raising a family.

    See my essay “AB 32 – some myths and some truths” at Therein I list and discuss eleven reasons to vote yes on Proposition 23.

    • Tina Casey

      Ron: Thank you for your comment. I’m leaving it up in case other readers would like to follow up, though your tone is not constructive (“delusional” is simply insulting, and “red, white, and blue” jobs sounds like fossil fuel industry propaganda to me). Regarding the development of sustainable technology: Other technologies (railroad industry, fossil fuel industry, aviation industry, defense industry, and so on and so forth) have all been developed within a regulatory framework in the U.S., including government subsidies, most notably for fossil fuels. Regarding your points about “the CO2 myth,” that is settled science.

    • JeffM

      Read The Fable of the Roasted Pig.

      It describes the scenario before us.

      • Tina Casey

        JeffM: In fairness to NewportMac, I deleted your comment for the same reason that I deleted one of his, which is that it contains a link without explaining what the point is (I followed your link and believe me, I get your point, but fair is fair).

    • Chris Sharp

      Looking at Ron’s blog and his essay, one might feel (as he goes into more detail) that there’s some valid points he’s making. Maybe, if AB 32 comes to fruition from a doomsayer point of view – one who predicts calamity at every opportunity. There are great opportunities economically from AB 32, and sustainably cleaner energy is now way beyond any separation from the energy equation. What’s striking is that Ron doesn’t seem to offer any specifics on what he means by ‘red, white and blue’ jobs. I thought that’s what we’re doing with creating job opportunities in renewables. Is fostering competitive green technologies not American enough for opponents of AB 32? Further reading Ron’s blog would see that he’s nearly walled himself away from progress.

      Proposition 23 would attempt to sew the threads of impasse and would stall American innovation, opportunity and healthy competitiveness. However that’s not where we’re headed. We’re headed toward a broad future with renewables coexisting with fossil fuels; one day surpassing them. May that come very soon for everyones’ sake.

      • Tina Casey

        Chris Sharp: Thanks for your insights. Your take on the use of buzzwords like “red, white, and blue jobs” touches on how I see it, which is that there’s a real need to develop new jobs in the energy field – especially jobs that don’t involve taking out huge chunks of our natural heritage.

  • Wayne

    Proposition 23 will simply allow green energy to be implemented in a sensible, market driven approach.

    Texas has managed to install triple the wind powered electrical generation as California, and has managed to do it without a job-killer like AB 32, actually growing its economy at the same rate that California’s is shrinking.

    California is very hostile to business, and AB 32 will only make us more hostile to business. Just this year businesses have spent over 4 billion dollars to LEAVE California, taking hundreds of billions of dollars in jobs and revenue with them.

    Green energy will never amount to more than a fraction of the jobs in California, but AB 32 will put even more drag on California’s economy, and lower the standard of living for the vast majority of us in California.

    Please vote Yes on Proposition 23. It really is about jobs and the economy.

    • @Wayne: Clean tech is now one of the leading and fastest-growing industries in the world. Whether you like it or not, creating a clean-tech-friendly environment is a big plus for the economy. ;

      • Wayne

        Zach, I agree that clean tech is a wonderful thing.We just can’t afford to subsidize it even more than it already is, by ourselves.

        Sure it is fast growing, but it will never make up for lost jobs if we take an unbalanced approach to it. California has already lost over 100 billion dollars in proven revenue and income just this year, and over 30,000 jobs LAST MONTH with a total of 2.3 MILLION people out of work. We need to become less hostile to business here in California, not more hostile. We are already in a full-blown crisis, in the frying pan so to speak, and AB 32 will tip us into the fire.

  • NewportMac

    Hi Tina,
    From my perspective, this isn’t about Oil vs Clean Energy, its about a poorly crafted piece of legislation that will do more harm than good and about protecting jobs until AB32 is fixed and we can afford it.

    Very few voters have taken the time to read AB 32.

    AB 32 was enacted before the facts were known. It simply needs to strip out the Cap and Trade provision and reliance on Green House Gas assumptions and its potentially a piece of leadership legislation. Sustainability, Clean Energy, and Stewardship are great goals but not at the expense of Common Sense.

    AB 32 needs to eliminate the Cap and Trade provisions 70% of America Opposes, eliminate the unnecessary oversight Fees, eliminate the reliance on flawed Green House Gas assumptions, correct the vague language that will introduce Environmental Red Tape that will do more damage than good, ensure AB 32 doesn’t undermine The Rule of Law, and make non-governmental agencies like CARB accountable to the taxpayer for their mistakes.

    Voting YES on Prop 23 makes the most sense until AB 32 is fixed and we can afford it.

    • Tina Casey

      NewportMac: Thank you for your comment, but I have to say that I disagree. It is precisely about oil vs. clean energy. Oil companies are the ones trying to get people to vote in favor Proposition 23, and the clean energy industry is trying to get people to vote against it. The basic effect of Proposition 23 would be to nullify AB 32. If, as you maintain, AB 32 is flawed, then a more constructive way to fix it would be through the legislative process, not through a simple, wholesale up-or-down vote as is the case with a public referendum.

      • Tina Casey

        NewportMac: I deleted your two comments for the following reasons: One was a simply a YouTube link with no explanation regarding its relevance to the subject of the post, and the other set up a straw man argument that digressed into a speculation on landlord-tenant behavior, which was not the subject of the post. I welcome your comments but in the future please try to stay on topic.

  • Earl Richards

    PROP 26 is just as damaging as PROP 23. Prop 26 is a treacherous, Big Oil rip-off, which “passes the buck” from oil corporation, clean-up fees to the public’s taxes, who will pay the oil recycling fees, the materials hazards fees and other fees. If you do not understand the ambiguities and the intrigues behind Prop 26, then, vote no. Power to the people. BP, Exxon Mobil and Shell are silent partners behind Prop 26.

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