Californians heading to the polls in November will vote whether to derail the state's landmark greenhouse gas emission law.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced this afternoon that the measure to delay Assembly Bill 32, the 2006 law mandating the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, has qualified for the ballot. Proponents, who needed to submit at least 435,000 valid voter signatures to make the cut, reached the threshold for qualifying through the random sample process.
The measure, called the California Jobs Initiative, calls for delaying implementation of the regulations until the state unemployment rate — which currently hovers at about 12 percent — drops to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.
The initiative's backers deride AB 32 as a "job killer" and say that complying with the law's mandates will hurt businesses on the brink of recovery. They cite various studies, some of which have been dismissed or criticized by other academics, finding that the regulations would cost the state jobs. The Legislative Analyst's Office concluded in a report this spring that AB 32 could result in job losses in the short term but that it was unclear what the long-term impact would be.
The opposition campaign will have help from one of the AB 32's biggest backers: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the law in 2006.
"This initiative sponsored by greedy Texas oil companies would cripple California's fastest growing economic sector, reverse our renewable energy policy and decimate our environmental progress for the benefit of these oil companies' profit margins," Schwarzenegger said Tuesday in a statement. "I will not allow this to happen on my watch."
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