Prop. 26 and the Environment

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The November 2 midterm elections are over and the returns are in.  And while Californians handily defeated Prop. 23, an attempt by non-California based oil companies to delay and effectively repeal California’s landmark climate legislation AB 32, another proposition with a group of oil, tobacco, alcohol and other business backers managed to fly under the radar.

Prop. 26 re-frames the practice of charging regulatory fees for certain harmful or polluting corporate and industrial activities as levying a “tax”, and will now require a 2/3 vote  for implementation of such “taxes” rather than the simple majority required to implement a fee.

Prop. 26 directly challenges the ability of the state legislature to hold polluters accountable and instead may create a climate of political gridlock as the high bar of a 2/3 majority can paralyze necessary actions toward the implementation of Prop. 23.

Prop. 26 is also a strong step away from the concept of “extended producer responsibility”  that has been gaining support across the country, and will likely result in a loss of revenue for the state.

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See Anna’s  post on Prop. 23 and Prop. 26 funders.

See my  post on Extended Producer Responsibility.

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The Koch Brothers and AB 32

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I have previously posted about AB 32 and Prop 23.

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Today, the New York Times published an editorial about the coalition of oil and gas companies and climate change skeptics that are trying to kill it through Prop 23.

…a well-financed coalition of right-wing ideologues, out-of-state oil and gas companies and climate-change skeptics is seeking to effectively kill that law with an initiative on the November state ballot. The money men include Charles and David Koch, the Kansas oil and gas billionaires who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement.

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The prospect that these rules could reduce gasoline consumption strikes terror into some energy companies. A large chunk of the $8.2 million raised in support of the ballot proposition has come from just two Texas-based oil and gas companies, Valero and Tesoro, which have extensive operations in California. The Koch brothers have contributed about $1 million, partly because they worry about damage to the bottom line at Koch Industries, and also because they believe that climate change is a left-wing hoax.

You can read the entire editorial on the New York Times website.

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Assorted Links

The CPUC has released an action plan for getting to net zero energy in the commercial sector by 2030.

The independent organization retained by the CPUC to examine PG&E’s SmartMeters says that the meters worked properly.

California legislature failed to pass SB 722, the 33% renewable portfolio standard, in this legislative session. Schwarzenegger may call a special session to try to pass it.

California state senators rejected a proposed plan to ban plastic bags statewide.

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