Jun 22, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
CalCars is a sponsor of this effort to significantly expand broad incentives to buyers, builders and researchers of advanced technology vehicles fueled by non-petroleum sources. (They're de-emphasizing the "alternative" fuels label because these fuels should become the mainstream, not the "also available" alternative.L)
This may become a high-priced energy battle this year, with tens of millions spent by the oil companies, and supporters working to raise the funds to maintain the current favorable public attitudes to the approach. Below their press release, we've included a few additional explanations.
http://www.yesoncleanenergy.com/article.php?id=157 June 21, 2006 - We're on the ballot
California Clean Energy Campaign Qualifies for November Statewide Ballot Measure to Benefit California Consumers with Cleaner, Cheaper, More Reliable Energy Initiative Expected to be Model for the Nation; Opposition to Campaign Funded Almost Entirely by Big Oil
Los Angeles - The California Secretary of State's office today announced that the California Clean Alternative Energy Initiative has qualified for placement on the November 7, 2006 General Election statewide ballot. Supporters submitted nearly 1.2 million signatures, almost double the number required to certify.
Outrage over high gas prices, record-breaking oil company profits, poor air quality and over-dependence on insecure foreign oil sources are fueling the momentum behind the California Clean Energy campaign.
"The Clean Energy Initiative represents a choice," said Dan Kammen, PhD, Professor of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy and founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL). "In the absence of a federal energy policy, the oil companies have a business-as-usual plan for California's energy future: higher gas prices, more pollution and greater dependence on insecure foreign sources of oil. The Clean Energy Initiative offers a better choice: cheaper energy, cleaner air, and secure sources of fuel. Under Big Oil's plan, California would remain a prisoner of the status quo: we pay, they profit. But under the Clean Energy Initiative, they pay and we benefit. The choice is clear. Maybe that's why the big oil companies oppose us so bitterly," he added.
"The Clean Energy Initiative will rush cleaner, cheaper and more reliable fuels to the marketplace more quickly, which will help break California's dependence on foreign oil," said Nate Lewis, PhD and Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology. "Voters are demanding an alternative to our oil dependence - and they are recognizing that this Initiative presents a real solution to breaking the stranglehold that Big Oil has over us," added Lewis.
The Clean Energy Initiative will fund a $4 billion effort to reduce California's dependence on gasoline and diesel by 25% over the next 10 years by making alternative fuel vehicles and alternative fuels more widely affordable and accessible to consumers. The program will be funded by a modest and temporary assessment on the extraction of oil in California, paid for by oil companies that drill in California. The assessment is based on a sliding scale of 1.5- 6.0%, based on the price per barrel (PPB) of California crude oil at the wellhead; full funding of the program could be achieved in as few as 7 years, depending on the price of California oil. If the Initiative were enacted today, the assessment would be 4.5%, based on the current closing price of California oil ($58.00 per barrel, as of Friday, June 16).
Under the initiative, there are no costs to California consumers. The California Attorney General has written that the Initiative specifically prohibits oil producers from passing the assessment on to consumers. Oil company executives who attempt to pass the assessment on to consumers could face criminal prosecution and jail time. The consumer protection principle that prohibits passing the assessment on to consumers is well-established and well-supported in case law. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1983 ruled against 14 oil companies that fought an Alabama prohibition on pass-through, specifically upholding consumer protection provisions similar to the one in this Initiative. (Exxon Corp. v. Eagerton, 462 U.S. 176 (1983))
California is the 3rd largest oil-producing state in the nation, yet is the only major oil-producing state without a comparable resource depletion assessment to reimburse Californians for the exploitation of our natural resources. By comparison, as a standard business practice, California's timber and water industries reimburse the state for the resources they take, use or sell. Oil companies currently pay the federal government 12.5% for oil extracted from federal waters, just 3 to 200 miles off the coast of California, outside the state's jurisdiction. Oil companies pay similar assessments in every other major oil-producing state, including Alaska (15%), Texas (4.6%), Louisiana (12.5%) and New Mexico (3.8%). Experience in those states has shown that the assessment does not result in higher costs to consumers. In fact, gas prices in those states are considerably lower than in California.
"California motorists are paying the highest gasoline prices in the U.S. In fact, just this spring, California drivers paid $132 million more for gasoline than the rest of the nation. At the same time, oil companies are reporting world-record profits," said Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights. "Big oil has gouged us with high prices and blocked our transition to alternative fuels to protect their profits. It's no surprise then that opposition to this initiative is funded almost entirely by Big Oil. It's time for Big Oil to pay their fair share of their excess profits so that California can have cleaner, cheaper fuel in the future."
While voters are fuming over high gas prices, California's air quality is among the worst in the nation and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of cases of asthma and lung disease every year costing the state billions of dollars annually. "Much of this pollution is due to fine particulate matter that spews out from cars and trucks that run on gas and diesel," said Tim Carmichael, president of the Coalition for Clean Air. "Not only is our over-dependence on oil hurting our pocketbooks, but breathing polluted air in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles or Riverside can reduce Californians' life expectancy by two to three years."
The Clean Energy Initiative will give consumers rebates to buy clean-fuel cars that run on ethanol and electricity, and invest in cleaner renewable energy like solar and wind. The Initiative will empower California consumers by creating incentives for them to replace gas and diesel powered vehicles with cars and trucks that run on clean, affordable, alternative fuels like ethanol, biodiesel and electricity. The Initiative will rush new technologies to the marketplace more quickly and it will also fund university research and development in renewable energy like wind and solar.
"By investing in cost-effective clean energy technologies here in California, we can lead the nation in developing clean air and viable renewable energy solutions," said Carl Zichella, Regional Staff Director for the Sierra Club Coalition. "It's time for Californians to have alternatives that allow us to drive cleaner cars that run on cleaner fuels."
Chris Wolfe , President and Founder of Americans for Energy Independence said, "With this Initiative, we in California can help declare our energy independence and develop alternatives that protect our energy security now and for future generations."
The Clean Energy Initiative is supported by a growing, broad-based coalition of Nobel-prize winning scientists, economists, consumer protection and taxpayer advocates, public health leaders, environmentalists, business leaders, as well as leading statewide organizations including the Coalition for Clean Air, Environment California, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club California, California League of Conservation Voters, Consumer Action, Public Citizen's Energy Program, Utility Consumers Action Network, Americans for Energy Independence, Foreign Oil Independence League and the Energy Independence Now Coalition, among many others. For a complete listing of Californians for Clean Energy coalition members, please visit www.yesoncleanenergy.com.
ADDITIONAL NOTES (FROM CALCARS)
Under the program, an existing inactive agency, the CA Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority will become the CA Energy Alternatives Program Authority, with nine members including the Secretary of Environmental Protection Agency, the Chair of the California Energy Commission, the Treasurer, two appointees of the Governor, and one appointee each from the Controller, the Speaker, the Senate Rules Committee and the Attorney General. The Authoritywill develop two-year and ten-year strategic spending plans and award incentives for grants, loans, loan guarantees and buydowns..
57.5% of funds will go to gasoline and oil reduction, 26.75% to research innovation, 9.75% for commercialization acceleration, 2.5% for vocational training and 3.5% for public education and administration.