Valero: Don’t Fuel Up the Hype Machine about California’s AB 32

Watch out:  Big Oil, coal, their polluting friends and their legions of well-paid public relations minions are fueling up the hype machine once again.  This time they’re saying AB 32, California’s forward-looking legislation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote new environmentally-friendly technology, will cost the state jobs.  Led by Valero Corp. and a coalition of Texas Oil refiners, they’ve wrapped their spurious claims in something they call the California Jobs Initiative, a referendum they’re attempting to place on the state’s November ballot. If approved, the initiative will delay—and possibly prevent-- implementation of AB32.

It’s time for a bit of a reality check here.  First, let’s remember that Texas Oil doesn’t care about California Jobs.  Texas Oil cares about Texas Oil’s Profits – profits that are paying professional signature gatherers an unusually high price for every California signature they get on their petitions. They’re out here mucking around in California’s politics because they consider AB 32 – otherwise known as the Global Warming Solutions Act— a threat.  They are in the business of purveying high-carbon fossil fuels, and any public health or clean energy program that interferes with that is on their hit list.

The fact is that AB 32 gives California a competitive advantage by positioning us as a leader in the growing clean tech sector of the 21st Century.  It will stimulate new technologies and create thousands of new jobs – indeed, just by providing certainty, it’s already helped create an investment environment to do just that. Projects totaling 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy are now competing for federal dollars in California.

More and more there are projects and payrolls that would not exist without the stability that AB 32 provides.  We all know that we need plenty of jobs and abundant energy in California.  We also know that we can’t go around producing them in the old way.  AB 32 confronts the inevitability of change, and ensures that California will profit, not suffer, from it.  We cannot let a gang of self-interested Texas oil refiners to drag us back to primitive energy sources and primitive economic models.

Hey, Valero: take a page from the game plan of your competitors.  Just because you pump dead dinosaurs doesn’t mean you have to think like one.

About the Authors

Annie Notthoff

Director, California Advocacy, San Francisco and Sacramento

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