"The dirty oil coalition behind the Proposition 23 effort to stop clean energy just got a lot dirtier"
Koch Industries joins Valero and Tesoro to stop climate action
On Friday, September 03 Thomas F. Steyer, Co-Chair of the No on 23 Campaign and Paul Knepprath, Vice President for advocacy and health initiatives for the California chapter of the American Lung Association held a press call to discuss the latest donations to the Yes on 23 campaign to repeal California’s key climate and clean energy laws.
“The dirty oil coalition behind prop 23 just got a lot dirtier,” said Knepprath, referring to the $1 million contribution that Koch Industries made to the Yes on 23 campaign a day earlier. The campaign is supporting a passage of proposition 23 that was placed on the ballot by Texas oil companies. The proposition would undo California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (also known as Assembly Bill 32, or AB 32).
Koch Industries is one of the biggest polluters in the country and is ranked the biggest spending dirty energy company. In fact, Koch Industries outspends Exxon Mobil on climate and clean energy disinformation. Yesterday, in addition to Koch, Tesoro donated another $1 million bringing the total contributions to the Yes on 23 campaign to more than $8 million – 97% of which comes from oil and 89% of which comes from out of state. Valero, Tesoro and Koch alone have funded more than $6.5 million – 80% of total contributions.
“I think it’s appropriate to revert to the old saying follow the money because I think that is what Proposition 23 is trying to do is move our state backwards and cost us our clean energy jobs. And I think that when you follow the money you see that there are three companies from out of state who have a very specific econ interest in rolling back our laws and our regulations, ” said Thomas F. Steyer, Co-Chair of No on 23 Campaign in a press call on Friday, September 3, 2010.
Steyer, a CAP board member, pointed to the economic benefits and employment opportunities stemming from AB32. “We already have 500,000 clean energy jobs, we have been building this part of the economy consistently even in tough times, so what they’re [oil companies] really trying to roll back is something that is working,” he said.
As for what’s at stake, Steyer said, “If the yes on 23 folks win we’re going to change the framework for investment here we’re gonna change our ability to create new industries, those industries our going to go elsewhere probably not in the United States, probably our biggest competition in this is China”¦We absolutely have to prevent this proposition from passing if we’re gonna protect the jobs of the 21st century.”
The “Toxic Triplets”
“We like to look at Koch, Valero, and Tesoro as the toxic triplets, said Knepprath on the call today.
A huge coalition opposing proposition 23 including business, labor, environmental organizations and more, has formed representing the wide range of threats to the economy, jobs, and public health that that proposition 23 poses. Knepprath noted the dangers to public health that would result from proposition 23, which would repeal sections of California’s health and safety code that force major polluters to reduce their air pollution in California. The American Lung Association is opposed to the proposition for this reason. “Proposition 23 is a public disaster waiting to happen. It’s going to result in more air pollution, increased public health threats, and respiratory diseases,” said Knepprath. He continued, “with yesterday’s donations, these massive donations by Koch and others, that the dirty oil coalition behind prop 23 just got a lot dirtier.”
Guest blogger Rebecca Lefton is a researcher with CAPAF’s Progressive Media, and has been following big oil’s prop 23 closely.