A ballot measure to suspend implementation of AB 32, California’s landmark law to control the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, will appear on the November ballot, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced Tuesday.
The measure’s backers submitted enough signatures to qualify the initiative, according to a random sample of those names by the counties.
AB 32 requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The Air Resources Board is developing regulations that will force power plants, cement factories, oil refineries, auto manufacturers and other industries to change the way they operate in order to comply with the law.
The measure would suspend the law until the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. That’s only happened twice in the past 20 years, and with the unemployment rate currently 12.4 percent, the initiative is almost the equivalent of repealing AB 32.
The financing to collect the signatures to put the measure on the ballot was provided largely by oil companies. And Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who considers the law one of his major accomplishments, wasted no time Tuesday lashing out at the initiative’s sponsors.
“This initiative sponsored by greedy Texas oil companies would cripple California’s fastest growing economic sector, reverse our renewable energy policy and decimate our environmental progress for the benefit of these oil companies’ profit margins,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement released by his office. “I will not allow this to happen on my watch. We will continue moving this state forward with our comprehensive energy policy that creates jobs, reduces our reliance on foreign oil and ensures the California we love will be the California we hand over to the next generation.”