The Governator: Fighting oil villains or making life easier for them?

Earth! Fire! Wind! Water!

Today’s San Francisco Chronicle contains an opinion piece by David Horsey commending Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, for taking Texas oil companies Tesoro and Valero to task for attempting to subvert California’s landmark global warming legislation, AB 32.

Titled “The Governator battles villains with ‘black oil hearts,’” the piece casts Schwarzenegger as an environmental superhero facing off against a band of greedy cowboys. Tesoro and Valero have sunk millions into Proposition 23, the deceptively titled “California Jobs Initiative,” which would suspend implementation of the greenhouse-gas reduction law until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. Prospects are dim for such a market condition anytime soon.

“It is electrifying to hear a Republican politician expose the big corporations that relentlessly subvert public policy and the national interest,” Horsey notes. “Arnold Schwarzenegger might be leaving office with a mixed record of accomplishment, but when it comes to challenging these modern-day bandits of industry, he could be the boldest action hero we've got.”

Schwarzenegger deserves credit for taking a stand against oil-industry giants on this particular issue, but he’s no environmental action hero. On Sept. 30, The Governator vetoed legislation that would have improved the state’s capability to respond to oil spills.

AB 234, authored by Assembly Member Jared Huffman, would have required large vessels to deploy oil containment booms prior to fuel transfers. The Dubai Star oil spill occurred during a fuel transfer, and the precautionary measure could have lessened the impact.

Additionally, the bill would have increased existing oil fees to bolster funding for the state’s oil spill prevention and response efforts. And it would have required the State Lands Commission to report on safeguards for offshore oil drilling and response plans in the event of the failure of an oil rig’s blowout preventer. The BP oil spill demonstrated how dire the consequences can be if such a failure occurs.

“With his veto of AB 234, Governor Schwarzenegger failed miserably when it came to protecting California’s environment, public health, seabirds, and our coastal waters from oil spills,” said Marcie Keever, Oceans & Vessels Campaign Director at Friends of the Earth, which sponsored the bill along with Pacific Environment.  “Assembly Member Huffman and the Legislature worked extremely hard this year to craft AB 234 to protect the people and resources of the state of California -- and with a few strokes of his pen the Governor struck a significant blow to public health and our environment.”

Schwarzenegger may have publicly reprimanded the Texas oil cowboys for bankrolling Prop. 23, but he’s no Captain Planet.


The California Jobs Initiative (CJI) is an oil corporation farce and fraud. There is no connection, whatsoever, between greenhouse gas emission reduction and the loss of jobs. This notion is an insult to the intelligence of the people of California. In fact, there is job growth in the clean, renewable energy industry. Chevron employs 65,000 worldwide and CJI is not going to change this. The only jobs created by the oil industry are clean-up jobs after oil spills and deep water, blow-outs and pump-handler jobs. CJI will make fantastic profits for the oil industry, increase air pollution, especially in communities around their refineries and there will not be lower gas prices. Koch Industries, Valero and Tesoro are super Enrons. Since when did the oil companies start to show any concern for the unemployed and their families and for small businesses?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

Keep driving your Hummer and then stand tall against big oil. Do as I say and not as I do.

Posted by Vincent on Oct. 03, 2010 @ 5:59 am

Points to ponder on AB 32:

° Sacramento State University reports estimated cost of $3734 per year per family due strictly to this AB 32.

° CARB has admitted that California alone cannot have an inpact on reducing global warming and CO2 emissions.

° US EPA acknowledges that US action alone will not impact the world CO2 levels;

° US EPA (11 July 2010) said that bills in Congress will not reduce the total use of gas and oil of 20 million gallons per day for decades.

° LAO (CA Legislative Analyst Office) stated: CA economy at large will be adversely affected by implementation of climate-related policies that are not in place elsewhere. (Letter to Dan Logue, 13 May 2010)

° Even CARB’s own economic experts have recognized the fact that jobs will be lost because of AB 32. In fact, they recommend establishing a “Worker Transition Program” to provide assistance to people who lose their jobs because of AB 32 regulations.

° AB 32 does nothing for local pollution, nor does Proposition 23 do anything to increase local pollution.

° 5.5% unemployment for 4 consecutive quarters has occurred 7 times since 2005, 14 times since 1999, and 22 times since 1987.

When the loudest objections to any candidacy or initiative are focused on vilifying its financial backers, this often indicates that its opponents' arguments on its merits are weak.

Vote yes on Prop 23 and suspend AB32.

Posted by Wayne on Oct. 08, 2010 @ 9:15 am