Though California Secretary of State Debra Bowen yesterday certified a November ballot measure asking voters to suspend AB 32, a landmark state law requiring a significant cut in greenhouse gas emissions, AB 32 supporters have been organizing for months and have formed a significant coalition to fight the initiative.
In a move usually associated with congressional Republicans, they've also honed their message to clarion simplicity: Support a clean energy future or support Big Oil.
Californians for Clean Energy Jobs, the coalition supporting AB 32, argues the paradigm is no longer about jobs versus the environment, but supporting an innovative economy that benefits the environment .
"It's not a battle between tree huggers and business," said Steve Maviglio, the spokesperson for Californians for Clean Energy Jobs. Maviglio said he was impressed that over 350 supporters had already stepped up, including heavy political hitters like the Association of American Retired Persons (AARP), the American Lung Association, the California Teachers Association, the California League of Women's Voters and the California Nurses Association.
"These are groups the American people trust and they don't trust oil companies," he said.
poison pill in the ballot measure, according to Maviglio, is the
provision that would suspend AB32 until California's unemployment rate
falls below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters, something that
has only happened three times in the last 30 years. California's
jobless rate is currently at 12.3 percent.
While the bulk of support for the coalition comes from the clean energy sector, Maviglio said Virgin America, deeply reliant on traditional petroleum fuels, was a member because they wanted to be on the right side of the issue. He also noted that Chevron and the California Chamber of Commerce were staying out of the fight because of the significance of AB 32.