Out-of-State Money Pushing Prop 23

By Matt Baume
|  Thursday, Sep 9, 2010  |  Updated 1:30 PM PDT
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Out-of-State Money Pushing Prop 23

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GRAND ISLE, LA - JUNE 06: Heavy oil pools along the side of a boom just outside Cat Island in Barataria Bay June 6, 2010 near Grand Isle, Louisiana. BP's latest attempt to stem the flow of oil from the well head is capturing a portion of the oil flowing out, but much of it continues to flow into the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Exactly who's paying for California's Prop. 23?

Well, there's the Texans. And the Kansans. In fact, of $8.3 million contributed to the proposition, which would roll back environmental protections, only $1 million has come from within California, according to CaliforniaWatch. Prop 23 would undo AB32, which limits emissions of toxic gasses and pushes the state towards more sustainable energy sources.

That's bad news for Texas petroleum-based companies like Valero Oil and Tesoro Corp. They've branded Prop 23 as a "job creating" bill. They may actually be on to something: the oil spill in the Gulf certainly did create a lot of cleanup jobs.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called the oil companies' move "greedy," and entrepreneurs like Google head Eric Schmidt have pointed out that California stands to create plenty of jobs in the green energy sector.

Pro-pollution money has also come from the notorious Koch brothers. The oil billionaires have contributed $1 million towards Prop 23, while also contributing to Tea Party causes. Local polluter Chevron, which is in the midst of a controversy surrounding its Richmond oil refinery, has not taken sides in the battle.

But while fossil-fuel dinosaurs are struggling to cling to their polluting ways, many Bay Area businesses are finding success in embracing environmental measures.

Sen. Barbara Boxer recently toured Solazyne, a company that extracts fuel from algae. The relatively new company is still ramping up, providing increasing amounts of energy at ever-diminishing costs.

Boxer's support for green companies like Solazyne is in sharp contrast to her rival, Carly Fiorina, who led Hewlett Packard until the board of directors forced her to step down .Fiorina opposes AB32 and supports Prop 23.

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