This post is part of a Progressive Media blogging series on the fossil fuel-funded Prop 23 effort to repeal California’s clean energy climate law. Read Rebecca Lefton’s posts on Prop 23’s economic impact, national repercussions, and funding from Texas oil companies.
In the California legislature, the loudest voice to kill the landmark clean energy climate change law AB32 has become Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Chico). Described by Sacramento insiders as a “backbencher,” Logue has built a powerful coalition of former tobacco lobbyists and Texan oil companies to orchestrate Prop 23, an initiative to essentially rescind AB 32. But who is Logue?
During an interview earlier this month in Yuba City, California, Logue told the Wonk Room that he thinks that “the issue of global warming is not solved,” referring to climate change as a “scam.” Calling his repeal effort an “epic battle,” Logue claimed that the pro-Prop 23 forces would raise up to $45-50 million:
Climate Change LOGUE: I think the issue of global warming is not solved. I do not think the science has been settled. […] This is a scam.
How Much Will Prop 23 Raise? LOGUE: But no, it could be up to forty, fifty million a piece. I don’t know if it will get there, but it will be probably the most intense petition drive in the history of the state.
Impacting The National Debate LOGUE: I got a call from the Wall Street Journal, they said if you can stop AB 32 in California, you can save the country.
Wording Of Prop 23 WR: Do you think if it was a full scale repeal, the language would turn some people off?
LOGUE: It would be more difficult to pass.
Logue told us that the Wall Street Journal had encouraged him to push his AB 32 repeal initiative in order to derail national efforts to address climate change. Ironically, the Wonk Room ran into the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund a week after speaking to Logue. Fund told us that he thinks people who deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change are “troglodytes.”
Originally, the initiative to repeal AB 32 was pushed by Ted Costa, a veteran right-wing activist behind many conservative initiatives and head of the group People’s Advocate. In a separate interview, Costa told the Wonk Room that he met privately with Logue, who was “crying that he had a bill to repeal AB 32.” Logue’s bill, AB 118, died in committee, but Costa said he and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) advised Logue to use an initiative to instead rescind California’s clean energy law using provisions concerning the unemployment rate.
To draft the initiative, Costa said he initially worked with California GOP and tobacco lawyer Tom Hiltachk to write the language. But after submitting Costa’s initiative, Hiltachk resubmitted the Prop 23 “California Jobs Initiative” using slightly altered provisions “to get better financial backing.” According to Costa, Hiltachk lied to him, secretly pushing him out so that the money raised for the proposition could be funneled back to Hiltachk and his friends in the “million-dollar consultant” world. Before long, Costa said he received a call from a “high powered lobbyist” to tell him he was out of the process.
Costa told the Wonk Room that he became disgusted when he kept hearing Logue and others involved gleefully discussing the potential of raising $50 million from oil companies and the Chamber of Commerce. Logue believes Costa has “sour grapes” because he did not win the contract to gather signatures. Costa, however, says Logue is “full of shit” and is afflicted with “politician’s disease” for pushing an initiative just to get rich.