Thursday, March 4, 2010
Opponents of California's greenhouse gas emissions law are trying to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would delay implementation of the law.
Supporters of the initiative said Wednesday they want to delay the global warming law until California's economy improves.
Anita Mangels represents the California Jobs Initiative Campaign.
"The initiative calls for the unemployment rate to be at 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters," said Mangels.
The rate is currently more than 12 percent.
California Sierra Club Director Bill Magavern said the four-quarter requirement has been met only three times in the past 30 years.
"This would put on hold, really in a deep freeze, one of California's most important laws to protect our air and atmosphere," said Magavern.
The initiative campaign needs to gather 434,000 voter signatures by mid-April to qualify for the November ballot.
The state law targets greenhouse gas emissions that supporters say is responsible for climate change.
Two Texas-based oil companies are reportedly funding the initiative campaign. The Los Angeles Times reported Valero Energy and Tesoro have pledged as much as $2 million for the campaign, but the companies have not confirmed the report.
Mangels, with the California Jobs Initiative Campaign, said campaign contributors will be released at a future date as required by California law.
California Sierra Club Director Magavern said the two companies would be required to make changes to the refineries they operate in Northern and Southern California.
"They should simply follow the law in California instead of coming into our state and buying signatures on petitions and trying to change the law in California," Magavern said.
But Mangels said the initiative is about jobs.
"The implementation of California's greenhouse gas emissions law is going to cost a lot of money to the state's economy at a time when unemployment is more than 12 percent," said Mangels. "The added expense at this time could make the situation worse."
California's greenhouse gas emissions law requires changes ranging from cracking down on gas-guzzling vehicles to capping industrial pollution, requiring more renewable energy, encouraging solar roofs and increasing energy-efficiency standards in buildings.