No on Prop 26Image: Vote No on Prop 26

Cross-posted from the Wonk Room.

Supporters of Proposition 26 — a California ballot measure that could cripple implementation of the state’s landmark climate law, AB 32 — are attempting to distance themselves from Prop 23, the unpopular effort to block the legislation more directly. California oil companies and the Chamber of Commerce, who have sat out of the Proposition 23 fight to suspend AB 32, have been quietly funneling millions of dollars to support Prop 26, which would [$ub req] “require a two-thirds vote of the state legislature anytime a government agency tries to assess a fee on a company that is not then used to regulate that entity”:

Unlike Prop 23, which has seen many of the big donors sit out, Prop 26 has received multimillion-dollar contributions from the likes of the California Chamber of Commerce, Chevron Corp., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. Also contributing are ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum, according to data available through the California Secretary of State.

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The California Chamber of Commerce has pumped at least $3.3 million into Prop 26, and California’s Chevron has spent $2.5 million.

The language of Prop 26 would open the implementation of AB 32 to new avenues of legal challenges and obstruction based on a “hidden taxes” argument, and is a fall-back defense for opponents of clean energy if Prop 23 fails. The oil-fueled Tea Party effort to kill California’s climate law is foundering, as the state’s voters turn against the idea that pollution is good business. A new poll finds that support for Prop 23 has collapsed, despite the millions of dollars pumped into the state by Midwest oil companies Tesoro, Valero, and Koch Industries, and the astroturf efforts of Koch’s Americans for Prosperity.

“Rules under the global warming law, which would require companies to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, take effect in January and could be vulnerable to legislative gridlock over fees” if Prop 26 passes, the Los Angeles Times explains.

“Prop 26 would eviscerate the funding of all air- and water-pollution programs, even oil-spill cleanup,” Warner Chabot, chief executive of the California League of Conservation Voters, told the Times. “If 26 passes, it is a Christmas present to the oil industry, the tobacco industry and every other polluting industry. The cost of regulation will shift from the industry to taxpayers.”

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