Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Will Texas Oil Firms Succeed in Undoing California Greenhouse Gas Laws?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Will Texas Oil Firms Succeed in Undoing California Greenhouse Gas Laws?

Article excerpt

Texas oil firms are backing a ballot initiative that would repeal the state's landmark 2006 greenhouse-gas reduction law. The mayor of Los Angeles is rallying Hispanic groups against the initiative.

A bit of a propaganda war is heating up in California over Proposition 23, a citizen's initiative which could suspend the state's landmark greenhouse gas reduction law.

Backed by manufacturers and Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro, the ballot initiative would halt enforcement of the 2006 emissions law, AB32, until California unemployment, now over 12 percent, sinks to 5.5 percent for at least a year. Backers of the "California Jobs Initiative" say it is necessary to protect Californians from untimely financial hardship.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took the offensive this week with a press conference designed to spotlight the issue. "Go home, Texas oil companies," Mayor Villaraigosa urged at a Tuesday news conference aimed at encouraging voters to oppose Prop. 23. Claiming that "more Californians will get sick if Prop. 23 passes," Villaraigosa framed the fight as money vs. public health. "We won't compromise our environmental and health standards so you can make more money," he said.

The mayor surrounded himself with activists from Latino neighborhoods who released a statement saying that Prop. 23 "will hurt low-income communities and people of color first and worst," and called for the mobilization of voters from low-income areas. They circulated a four-page report laying out the environmental violations and fines assessed against the two companies.

But Prop. 23 supporters have since gone on the offensive, releasing a point-by-point rebuttal to the points brought forth.

"These claims might be effective scare tactics, but they have nothing to do with Prop. 23," says Anita Mangels, communications director for the group behind the initiative. …

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