Don’t Delay on Clean Air Law

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For Immediate Release:

Article by Ruben Guerra and Susan Frank

Published in the Fresno Bee on August 3, 2014

August 10, 2014

You may have seen some ads or read The Fresno Bee editorial (“Head Off Big Fuel Price Hike,” Aug. 3) that suggest “special interests” are going to cause gas prices to go up in January as a result of transportation fuels being covered under California’s clean energy and climate law, Assembly Bill 32.

We want to set the record straight, as business leaders who have long supported the state’s clean-air policies. Perhaps we are “special” in that not only do we represent thousands of California businesses, but we are joined by tens of thousands of workers and residents who continue to voice their support for AB 32 year in and year out.

Nothing in AB 32 says oil companies have to raise prices at the pump as a result of the state’s market-based cap-and-trade program. Slick ads and paid media sponsored by the oil industry are attempting to mislead the public to think that, suddenly, there is an imminent tax hike related to a law that has been on the books for years.

We ask you to consider the source — a hugely profitable industry that is faced with the prospect of change and less demand for their product is spending millions to ask for a special exemption from complying with AB 32. Rather than clean up their own carbon pollution, they are planning to pass on their costs to consumers.

Meanwhile, other industries, including utilities and manufacturing, have been shouldering their responsibilities under AB 32. As some of the state’s biggest utilities have pointed out, giving the transportation fuels sector a pass for a few more years shifts more costs and responsibility onto the utility sector.

Businesses and families in the San Joaquin Valley deserve the healthier, cleaner air and fuel-cost savings that reducing transportation-related pollution would bring. They also deserve better transportation options — like the zero-emission buses and other clean vehicles that are beginning to be deployed.

Companies like EVI in Stockton, which is building electric trucks, and Tesla Motors, which is hiring workers in Lathrop, are examples of how AB 32 is stimulating job creation and investments in California.

It’s not magic that these companies are thriving in California. The state’s policies — like AB 32 — are driving solutions and providing the opportunity for clean energy companies to locate and be successful in California.

We can attest to the importance of certainty in terms of business planning, so any delay in implementation of AB 32 will create unnecessary havoc in the marketplace.

All these companies know California’s clean-energy rules are on the books. They know the schedule of implementation. And like the many businesses who are members of the state’s growing coalition of business leaders that support AB 32, they see the move to cleaner transportation and fuels as an economic growth opportunity.

Diversifying fuels — so that we all don’t have to rely on gasoline to get where we’re going — offers consumers and businesses real choices.

Ultimately, it is that diversification that is a threat to the oil industry’s bottom line, and why they are spending millions of dollars to seek an exemption from AB 32.

Instead of fighting a cap-and-trade program that they originally supported, we call on oil companies to embrace the changes they have already been preparing for and instead spend their resources on technological and other advancements to improve their product and support the state’s climate goals.

California families and businesses deserve cleaner transportation options, less carbon pollution, clean air and a strong economy. AB 32 is already delivering on all of those promises.

We can’t afford to jeopardize that success. Our state’s clean energy future depends on it.

About the Authors

Ruben Guerra is the chairman and chief executive of the Latin Business Association, which represents more than 800,000 Latino businesses in California. Susan Frank is the director of the California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy, a network of more than 1,280 businesses and business associations supporting policies that move the state toward a clean and efficient economy.

View the Fresno Bee Article: “Don’t Delay on Clean Air Law”.

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