Valero Energy Corporation has spent $500,000 already in an effort to create a ballot initiative in California that would suspend the Golden State's aggressive climate law, known as AB 32. Valero, which calls San Antonio, Texas, home, has spent the money in part to get the 433,000 signatures required to get the initiative on November's ballot, which would suspend the law until California's unemployment rate goes below 5.5 percent.According to EE News, the other contributors include:
San Antonio refiner Tesoro Corp. ($100,000), the anti-tax Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association ($100,000), World Oil Corp. ($100,000), Tower Energy Group ($100,000), Southern Counties Oil Co. ($50,000), and the Lumber Association of California and Nevada Political Action Committee ($5,000).
California has the most ambitious climate plan in the country, which aims to cut emissions and increase the use of renewable energy to 30 percent by 2020. Last week, the San Jose Mercury News published an op-ed that said in part:
Forecasting the results of a complex law whose full implementation is years off is nearly impossible. A more useful view of the law's potential upside can be gleaned by looking at who stands behind AB 32, and what it has already done for the economy.
Just about every Silicon Valley heavyweight supports the law: Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, Intel, Applied Materials -- not to mention Whitman's former company, eBay. They all tout its environmental benefits and protections against global warming, but their bottom line is their own profitability.
The law's passage signaled that the clean-energy market will flourish long-term, opening the floodgates for investment in the sector, which nearly tripled, to $3.3 billion, in the two years after the law was signed. In 2009, 40 percent of cleantech venture capital went to California companies. While the overall number of California jobs shrunk 1 percent in 2007-08, the number of green jobs grew 5 percent.
Corporate power holding us back
The voters of California should be outraged that Valero is spending a half million dollars to maintain the business as usual in their state. The status quo will keep us transferring billions of dollars to other countries to buy fuel that is destroying the climate and keep us dependent on coal, the dirtiest fuel in the world. We need to speak out against Valero and other corporations that want to subvert democracy and keep us from creating a new clean energy economy.