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Manufacturing, Clean Air Clash At Prop 23 Debate

Susan Shimotsu |
October 22, 2010 | 1:04 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Terry Tamminen (l) and Dorothy Rothrock participated in the Prop 23 debate (Susan Shimotsu/Neon Tommy)
Terry Tamminen (l) and Dorothy Rothrock participated in the Prop 23 debate (Susan Shimotsu/Neon Tommy)

With the election less than two weeks away, supporters and opponents of Proposition 23 came out to UCLA on Thursday night to listen to both sides debate the issue with KPCC, 89.3 FM's Patt Morrison moderating.

Prop 23 calls for certain air pollution laws to be put on hold until the unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or below for a full year.

Thursday evening’s debate pitted Terry Tamminen, the CEO of clean-air activists Seventh Generation Advisors against Dorothy Rothrock, the senior vice president of government relations for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. Morrison moderated and recorded an episode of her radio show at the same time.

Rothrock, who is in favor of Prop 23, opened the debate by reassuring the audience that the 5.5 percent unemployment rate is “not that extreme of a requirement,” noting that it had been that low about 30 percent of the time since 1988. The current unemployment rate in the state of California is 12.4 percent and the last time it was at 5.5 or lower was in 2007.

While critics of the measure are quick to point out the potential damage to the environment less regulation would pose, Rothrock also reiterated that Prop 23 does not throw out many of the aggressive standards the state holds up, it only really targets cap and trade.

“[Cap and trade] is the most troublesome regulation for the manufacturers,” said Rothrock, who also added the expensive energy affects the entire economy.

Tamminen opposes Prop 23 based on his concern for higher air pollution. Part of Prop 23 will suspend the timetable for clean air set forth by Assembly Bill 32, which was passed in 2006 and aims to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020. Tamminen claimed the only people who want Prop 23 passed are out-of-state oil companies like Valero and Tesoro and that they only care about the bottom line.

“The roughly $9 million raised for the Prop 23 campaign… was paid for by two out-of-state Texas oil companies,” he said. “They clearly have an interest in keeping us addicted to their products.” 

Clean air is a global problem, and Tamminen said California’s action could potentially spark other countries and states to enact similar environmental legislation. Currently, eight other states have laws almost identical to AB 32, plus ten states in the Northeast adopted cap and trade policies with no extra costs reported.

Rothrock concluded with California’s need to send a good message that promotes self-sustainability as well as research and development without going over costs. Temmanin said he wants to “civilize” the oil companies as well as increase revenues for small business and help children keep their full lung function.

The debate will air Monday at 2 p.m. PDT on Morrison’s show on KPCC, 89.3 FM and will be available online Friday night.

To reach reporter Susan Shimotsu, click here.

Follow her on Twitter: @susanfromtx.

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Twitter Trackbacks for Manufacturing, Clean Air Clash At Pr (not verified) on October 23, 2010 1:19 PM

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Wayne (not verified) on October 22, 2010 8:18 PM

You do realize that it costs a lot more to operate in California, don't you? Regulatory fees, wages, permits, business fees, taxes, etc..., it is all higher in California than in Texas.

Earl Richards (not verified) on October 22, 2010 11:16 AM

Prop 23 is a "pain in the neck." There is no connection, whatsoever, between greenhouse gas emission reduction and the loss of jobs. This notion is an insult to the intelligence of the people of California. In fact, there is job growth in the clean, renewable energy industry. Chevron employs 65,000 worldwide and the California Jobs Initiative (CJI) is not going to change this. The only jobs created by the oil industry are clean-up jobs after oil spills and deep water, blow-outs and pump-handler jobs. CJI will make fantastic profits for the oil industry, increase air pollution, especially in communities around their refineries and there will not be lower gas prices. Tesoro, Koch Industries and Valero are super Enrons. Since when did the oil companies start to show any concern for the unemployed and their families and for small businesses? Occidental, BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron are silent partners in CJI.

Wayne (not verified) on October 22, 2010 9:21 AM

""Temmanin said he wants to “civilize” the oil companies as well as increase revenues for small business and help children keep their full lung function.""

What lies! AB 32 will increase small business costs, and so decrease their revenue. It is Prop 23 that will help small businees out.

And children are affected by real pollutants like NOx, CO, HC and such. If you want to protect the children, go after those pollutants, not CO2!

Earl Richards (not verified) on October 22, 2010 11:22 AM

Costs for small businesses have already increased by Big Oil ratcheting-up the price of oil and gasoline. Google the "Global Oil Scam" by Phil Davis. Texas and Alaska have an oil extraction tax and California does not, yet gasoline is cheaper the two states that have the oil extraction tax. The Dallas/Houston oil crowd are getting a "free ride", because of no oil extraction tax in California.