California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used his appearance at the Commonwealth Club in Santa Clara today to “put a spotlight” on what he called the “self-serving greed” of oil companies Valero, Tesoro, and Koch Industries. These companies, two of which he described as among the state’s top polluters, are bankrolling Proposition 23 for their own gain, while trying to hide behind a false claim that the initiative would be good for the state’s economy, said the Governor. Prop 23 would suspend California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, which authorizes incentives and regulations for reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Schwarzenegger’s speech was timed to the fourth anniversary of the law.
Proponents of the ballot measure claim that allowing AB 32 to be fully implemented would drive businesses from the state and could potentially cost the state more than a million jobs, a figure which has been challenged in several studies.
“They are creating a shell argument that this is about saving jobs,” said Schwarzenegger. “Does anyone really believe that these companies, out of their black-oil hearts are really spending millions and millions of dollars to protect jobs? It’s not about jobs at all. It’s about their ability to pollute and thus protect their profits.”
He said that green jobs in California have grown ten times faster than the statewide average since 2005, and that they now comprise the single largest source of jobs in the state. Passing Prop. 23, would kill investment in the strongest sector of California’s economy, said the Governor.
“The old oil companies are all out for Prop. 23. Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly against it,” he said. “Which side do you believe our economic future as a nation is on?”
The full recording of the Governor’s speech from today’s Climate One event at the Commonwealth Club will be broadcast tonight at 9 p.m. in the Bay Area on KQED Public Radio (88.5) and in the Sacramento region on KQEI (89.3).