Oil and utility industry-backed measures seek to rollback global warming bill and restrict local governments' abilities to purchase clean energy
May 17, 2010 (San Diego) – Two energy measures drawing controversy this election season will be topics of discussion at an event Tuesday evening hosted by the Sustainability Alliance of Southern California.
Alan Ball, SASC chair, will lead discussion on Proposition 16, a ballot measure funded by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) which would lock in the privately owned utility by requiring a two-thirds voter approval before a local government could start up or expand electricity service. Current law allows communities to purchase their own power on the open market.
Lisa Becker, president of CleanTECH San Diego, will lead discussion on Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act passed four years ago which requires polluters to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases. Now there are industry efforts to put an initiative on the ballot to overturn AB 32.
Major funders of the initiative effort are Valero, Tesoro and Occidental Oil Companies. Initiative supporters argue that the measure could cost 1.1 million jobs and should be suspended until California unemployment drops to 5.5 percent for a full year—something that has occurred just three times in 30 years. AB 32 has also drawn criticism from the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Republican Party.
But initiative opponents say repealing AB 32 would cost jobs, not save them. “If the movement to suspend AB 32 is successful, California will remain dependent on fossil fuels, and this would increase household electricity costs in California by 33 percent,” a statement issued by SASC contends. “These added costs will hurt the state’s economy by more than $80 billion and cost over a half million jobs by 2020.” Siliken, a global giant in solar, recently credited AB 32 as its incentive for expanding in San Diego, bringing 100 new manufacturing jobs to the Otay Mesa area.
In addition to the initiative topics, the meeting will also feature Dan Hendrickson, president of Libre Energy Inc., discussion solar water heating for space heating and evaporative air conditioning (Coolerado) powered by solar photovoltaic.
The program will be held at 6 p.m. on May 18 at the California Center for Sustainable Energy, 8690 Balboa Avenue, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92123.