California Votes on the Environment

When Californians mark our ballots for the November election we will decide on nine ballot initiatives, four of which impact California’s public health, natural resources and proud tradition of environmental leadership.  NRDC’s positions on these measures are outlined below.     


NO on 23 – The Dirty Energy Proposition

Proposition 23 would stop progress on curbing global warming emissions and transitioning to clean energy by “suspending” California’s landmark law, AB 32, until unemployment is below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.  This unemployment threshold has only been reached 3 times in the past forty years.  Prop 23 would pull the rug out from the one sector of our economy that is actually growing – clean technology and clean energy – and create loads of uncertainty for businesses that have already made investments and are looking to expand.  You can read more on the impacts of Prop 23 here and here and visit the campaign website here


NO on 26 – Polluter Protection Act

Proposition 26 is another disastrous measure for California’s environment, public health and local communities.  It would eliminate the ability of a majority of the legislature to enact fees on industries that pollute our air and water and endanger our health.  Currently, a simple majority vote can enact a fee (used to remedy a specific harm), but a tax (used for general purposes) requires a two-thirds vote.  Prop 26 would make it much harder to ensure that polluters are held accountable for the harm caused by their activity.  But Prop 26 goes farther – it also dictates what local governments should do by requiring cities and counties to run costly elections and reach a 2/3 majority to enact a fee.  Prop 26 would make it nearly impossible for local communities to deal with issues like traffic and public safety for large events and would shift the burden to taxpayers for cleaning up hazardous waste and other pollution.  A broad coalition of environmental and health groups, local governments, civic organizations and public safety professionals have come together to defeat this initiative.  Check out the opponents’ website here.


YES on 21 – California State Parks Initiative

Proposition 21 would give California vehicles free, year-round day-use admission to the state parks in exchange for a new $18 vehicle license fee, which would be dedicated to state parks and wildlife conservation.  State parks are chronically underfunded and have been threatened with closure the past two years due to the state’s dire budget situation.  Prop 21 would provide a stable and on-going source of funding for the parks at a time when we need them more than ever for our own recreation and respite, and for the economic activity they generate.  Read more about Prop 21 and the benefits of the parks here and here.    


YES on 25 – End Budget Gridlock

Proposition 25 would allow the state budget to pass by majority vote of the legislature.  Changing the vote threshold from 2/3 to a simple majority would help stop the practice of one or two legislators demanding repeal or weakening of environmental laws as the price of their budget votes.  Proposition 25 would help ensure that environmental policies are considered in the light of day, through regular legislative or administrative processes, not in backroom budget negotiations.  Learn more about Prop 25 here