Wednesday, October 20, 2010

California gubernatorial candidates on Prop 23

California is among the 37 states where a race for the governor’s office is on the Nov. 2 ballot. Also on the statewide ballot there is a question about whether to suspend a greenhouse gas emission rule. Fortunately for voters, the candidates for governor have weighed in on this important issue.

Approved in 2006, the greenhouse gas law allows the California Air Resources Board to create many new regulations. Specific to trucking, authority was given to formulate several trucking regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, including the state’s drayage rule, and truck retrofit rule.

The law, known as AB32, is intended to cap greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2020.

Proposition 23 on next month’s ballot would tie implementation of the four-year old law to California’s unemployment rate. If approved, the emissions requirement would be suspended until the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent or less for a full year.

Currently, the state’s unemployment rate for the first two quarters of 2010 was above 12 percent.

Democratic candidate Jerry Brown has denounced Prop 23. On his website, Brown proclaims that “shelving the state’s program would stunt the rapid growth of California’s burgeoning green economy, threaten hundreds of clean tech jobs and roll back our clean air and energy standards.”

Republican nominee Meg Whitman says she opposes Prop 23. On her website, she reiterates her support for a one-year moratorium on AB32.

“As I’ve said for more than a year, AB32 as it stands today is a job killer. We must fix it. My plan is to suspend AB32 for at least one year while we develop the sensible improvements the law badly needs to protect the jobs of hard working Californians while improving our environment,” Whitman says.

One important thing to keep in mind about Prop 23 is it would not halt all the provisions covered in AB23. It would prevent the state from moving forward on greenhouse gas-related measures until the unemployment rate improves. It does not call for shelving the program as Brown claims.

Also, passage of Prop 23 would not stop some of the current CARB rulemakings from going into effect, such as the TRU regulation and the truck and bus rule. But it would put a lock and chain on CARB and prevent them from moving forward on some of their more onerous regulations that are being discussed, including a requirement for reformulated diesel.

Truckers and others who vote in California have every reason to support Prop 23 on Election Day.