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Proposition 23 Defeat is a Winner for U.S. Military

california voters defeat proposition 23The people have spoken: Proposition 23, the notorious California ballot initiative that would have rolled back the state’s landmark new air pollution control law, has been shot down in flames. Naturally, clean tech companies are rejoicing over the defeat of Proposition 23 along with others who supported the “No on 23” campaign, but there is one key player in the sustainability field that you probably aren’t going to hear from, at least not officially, and that’s the U.S. military.

Climate Change, Proposition 23 and the U.S. Military

The branches of the armed services are on a full-throttle move toward sustainable energy, and the Department of Defense has officially declared that climate change is a national security issue. A thriving, growing clean tech sector is absolutely vital to these efforts, and the passage of Proposition 23 would have thrown a huge monkey wrench into it. Stalling the growth of clean tech businesses in California would have been bad enough, but given the size and influence of California’s economy it would have sent a chilling message to business throughout the U.S. For one thing, the financial backing would have dried up: major investors were among those opposed to Proposition 23.

The U.S. Military and The Fossil Fuel Industry

Whether intentionally or not, Proposition 23 was opposed to U.S. national security interests, so I think it’s fair to infer that the U.S. military has been a sort of silent partner in the “No on 23” effort. That makes the fossil fuel industry’s response to the vote sort of – well, strange. The lobbying group Heartland Institute lead off with the headline “Vested interests Pour Big Money Into Defeating California Prop 23.” Heartland made the whole thing out to be a battle of David vs. Goliath with the Prop 23 supporters playing the part of David — conveniently ignoring the fact that Prop 23 was mainly financed by the oil industry. Well, whatever. That’s all in the past. Now that California is back on track with a strong, statewide renewable energy policy, sunny days are here again.

Image: California smog by Al Pavangkanan on

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Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


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