Now I know this hasn’t been the best year for the environment, but Tuesday’s midterm election has major implications for federal climate legislation. The entire House and one-third of the Senate are up for reelection, and just to make matters more interesting, a semi-recent Supreme Court decision gave big businesses the green light to flood the political marketplace with corporate money. Obviously, this has major political and practical consequences — especially when it comes to the environment.
Climate action has stalled in the Senate. The Obama Administration caved to pressure from Big Oil by lifting the deepwater drilling moratorium. And here in California, where I live, oil giants like Valero and Tesoro have mounted a powerful multimillion dollar campaign in support of Proposition 23 — a measure that could overturn the landmark climate bill Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law that requires the state to decease emissions by 25 percent — down to 1990 levels by the year 2020.
Competition over the measure is growing, with both sides pushing millions of dollars into campaigns. But big oil’s goal is clear: if they kill climate legislation in California, it will have a domino effect throughout the country. The passage of the proposition will not only freeze federal climate policy, it’ll kill more than 12,000 clean technology jobs and waste billions of dollars of investment in California. So while Proposition 23 is a local issue for Californians, its effects transcend state lines and even borders.
Never before has a state of voters decided the fate of a nation’s action around climate policy. But I have faith in the American voters. No matter how many millions of dollars the deep-pocketed polluters spend on spreading mistruths, my fellow voters will support clean energy policies. So back off, oil and gas companies!
It’s time to get out and vote to defeat Proposition 23 — and tell your friends and family who will be voting in California’s election to do the same. The world is watching and it’s our chance to send a message to big oil and politicians around that country that we mean business and want powerful climate action this year!