A November ballot measure that would suspend California’s landmark global-warming law could also end up rolling back some of the state’s other sweeping environmental standards – including rules that require utilities to generate a third of their electricity from renewable sources and programs requiring oil refineries to make cleaner-burning fuels.
How broadly courts might interpret Proposition 23 is setting off alarm bells among Silicon Valley executives and environmental groups.
“If we don’t go forward with 33 percent renewable standard for California’s energy supply, we undercut all those companies and entrepreneurs creating jobs in solar, wind, biofuels and other renewable forms of energy,” said Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a San Jose organization that represents more than 200 companies and which opposes Proposition 23.
“We’re saying let’s take a U-turn to yesterday and be totally dependent on fossil fuels, rather than California leading the way to a renewable economy,” Guardino said.
Last month, the non-partisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office issued an analysis of Proposition 23 in which it said that the 33 percent renewable electricity standard and the state’s “low carbon fuel” regulations would be suspended if the measure passes. The Yes on 23 campaign says it agrees with that interpretation.
But environmental groups say considerably more could be suspended – 60 state regulations, including rules to reduce smog from ships, certain chemicals in air conditioners and even a 2002 state law that requires auto makers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent on new cars by 2016.