09.20.2010 0

Ballot Initiative Aimed Against Calif. Global Warming Law Interlinked with Tea Party, Koch Brothers

By Kevin Mooney — A California ballot initiative that could potentially unravel the anti energy policies Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law four years ago is the subject of a report aimed against free market groups. Charles and David Koch described here as the “billionaires from Kansas who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement” are the primary targets. But out of state business interests also come in for criticism.

Both sides acknowledge that initiative could have national ramifications for the environmental movement and its pursuit of “cap and trade” policies. State-level regulatory efforts that mimic the Kyoto Protocol rippled out of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act and could recede if pro-energy activists prevail in November. The initiative, known formally as Proposition 23, calls for a suspension of anti-emissions restrictions until after unemployment falls to 5.5 percent or lower for at least four consecutive quarters.

Over the past year, the environmental movement has been beset with setbacks that undermine long-standing scientific and economic arguments activists and government officials have invoked to advance regulatory directives. It is evident from this report that the NYT and other left leaning media outlets are panicked by recent developments. The idea here is to discredit the opposition and explain away public opposition as an understandable, albeit misguided byproduct of the recession.

“Traditionally, public support for environmental measures suffers during tough economic times,” the report says. “Here in California, backers of the initiative have seized on that anxiety — which is particularly acute in this state, with its 12.3 percent unemployment rate — in search of a victory.”

The stipulations included in Proposition 23 “could have the practical effect of killing the law,” the NYT correctly notes. Over the past several decades, the unemployment rate as rarely fallen to such relatively low rate for an extended period of time. AB 32, the Global Warming statute, calls for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions to be reduced back to 1990 levels by 2020. Private industry officials say they that the high cost of compliance would result in job losses and rising gas prices.

There are a number of detailed, scholarly studies that bolster and substantiate the concerns of private industry. The Institute for Energy Research (IER), for instance, has published a report that goes into great detail about the higher costs attached to renewable standards and emissions restrictions. But these hard facts have no place in an agenda laced report that works over time to sully the reputation of business groups, Tea Party activists and individual donors who are committed to private enterprise.

“The campaign against California’s greenhouse gas law comes as business groups have invested heavily across the country in trying to defeat members of Congress who voted for a cap-and-trade  bill that also mandated emission reductions; the bill passed the House but failed in the Senate in the face of strong opposition from lawmakers in industrial states,” the report says.

Looking ahead to November, current polls show that the competing sides are evenly matched.

“Yet supporters said they were concerned that the proposition could slip through at a time when Democratic spirits are low,” the NYT points out. “More significant is the question of how much more supporters of Prop 23 can raise to finance their campaign. Of the $8.2 million raised so far, $1 million came from the Koch firm, $4 million from the Valero Energy Corporation and $1.5 million from the Tesoro Corporation; both corporations are based in San Antonio.”

The article concludes with a spokesman from the NRDC quoted at length expressing concern over the influence and financial backing of anti-regulatory organizations. That’s the pot calling the kettle black.

“We have every reason to believe that they are going to put the money in to run a big television campaign in the most expensive media market in the country,” said Annie Notthoff, the California advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “We certainly are expecting to have a fight on our hands.”

As of 2006, the NRDC has net assets in excess of $125 million and enjoys consistent, steady substantial support from well-endowed left-leaning foundations, according to The Capital Research Center.

NRDC is part of  large, expansive network of left-wing organizations operating under the guise of environmentalism that have worked on national and international level to restrict and restrain America’s economic development.

Former Secretary of State George Schultz, who opposes the initiative and supports the global warming law, should be asked about the international dimensions of environmental groups.

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