Beyond Obama: Here are green ballot measures that won and lost
Here at Grist, we’ve been following a lot more than the presidential campaign. During the past few months, we’ve told you about (and heard from you about) important contests over ballot initiatives, congressional seats, governors’ mansions, and more. Here’s a roundup of outcomes on some key ballot measures. As results roll in, we’ll add to the list, and report on House, Senate, and gubernatorial races too, so stay tuned — and tell us in comments below about races we should be sure not to miss.
California GMO labeling: no go
The good-food movement appears to have suffered a big loss in California. It looks like voters have rejected Prop 37, which would have required genetically modified foods to be labeled as such. You might think such an initiative sounds like good common sense, and so did most California voters — until Monsanto, Dupont, Pepsi, and their Big Food pals poured $46 million into the anti-37 campaign and swamped the airwaves with fearmongering ads. Because labels are scary, and GMOs are not — right? Still, Twilight Greenaway says a loss doesn’t mean the food movement is a failure.
Michigan renewable energy goal: nixed
Our own David Roberts called this “the most important clean-energy vote” of the election season — so that’s big reason to be bummed out that Proposal 3 got trounced at the polls by Michigan voters. The initiative would have upped the state’s renewable electricity target to require that 25 percent of power come from clean sources by 2025. A front group for coal-reliant utilities spent nearly $24 million to scare voters away.
Longmont, Colo., fracking ban: thumbs up
The city of Longmont, Colo., north of Denver, defied state leaders and drilling companies alike by banning hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” as well as the storage of fracking waste, within city limits. “The oil and gas industry fought the ban hard, giving $507,500” to the opposition, the Boulder Daily Camera reports, but anti-fracking activists won the day.
San Francisco dam busting: rejected
“San Francisco voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition F, a plan that would have taken the first steps toward draining Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and drastically revamped the way much of the Bay Area gets its water,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “The Prop. F initiative was the culmination of a years-long effort by environmentalists to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.”
Seattle seawall rebuilding: approved
“With images of severe storm and flood damage from the East Coast fresh in many voters’ minds, Seattle residents overwhelmingly approved a $290 million, 30-year bond measure to reconstruct the aging Elliott Bay seawall,” The Seattle Times reported. “In Tuesday’s initial vote count, 77 percent of voters were supporting the seawall replacement and just 23 percent were voting to reject it.”
UPDATE: Adding more results below …
California building retrofits: OK’d
Voters approved Proposition 39, which is expected to raise $1 billion annually by closing a corporate tax loophole. Half of the money will be used to make public buildings more energy efficient, creating green jobs along the way, and the other half will go to the state’s much-depleted general fund. Philip Bump has more.