Proposition 23

Haley Sansom, Layout Editor

What it is

Proposition 23 calls for the suspension of the Air Pollution Control Law (AB 32), which requires companies with large amounts of emissions to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If Prop. 23 passes, AB 32 will be suspended until unemployment levels drop to or below 5.5 percent for an entire year and state agencies may not adopt new regulations that resemble AB 32.


Supporters of Prop. 23 call it the “Jobs Initiative” because they believe that once AB 32 is suspended, unemployment rates will decrease. The “Yes on 23” website states that if AB 32 is not suspended, it will cost California 1.1 million jobs. According to the Voter Guide, “Other countries that passed global warming laws experienced a loss of two blue collar jobs for every one green job created.” While this proposition would suspend AB 32, it does not repeal public health laws or other environmental laws already in place.

According to the website, AB 32 costs the average small business almost $50,000 a year, causing many small business to shut down. They estimate that AB 32 will cost the average family an extra $4,000 a year for housing, transportation, food and energy.

Supporters also argue that California can’t tackle global warming alone. Since California only produces 1.4 percent of the world’s greenhouse gasses, proponents believe AB 32 costs California more money than it’s worth. Many states don’t have these laws or have suspended such laws due to the expense, so California businesses may choose to relocate to less expensive parts of the country.

Opponents of Prop. 23 call it the “Dirty Energy Proposition.” The main arguments against Prop. 23 are that suspension of AB 32 would cause more air pollution and increase public health risks.

Opponents also argue it will cost California families money. According to the “No on 23” website, suspension of AB 32 will cost families an average of $650 a year because California will remain dependent on costly oil.

The “No on 23” campaign claims that Prop. 23 will cost Californians jobs. The website provides a list of companies, including North Bay businesses SolarTech in San Jose and Recurve in San Francisco, that have created jobs since AB 32 passed. The site claims the clean technology industry is currently the fastest growing industry in the state and progress will be halted and jobs will be lost if Prop. 23 passes.

Opponents say suspension of AB 32 would only worsen conditions for the approximately 91 percent of California residents living in areas that failed the American Lung Association air quality test in 2010. The American Lung Association says the high levels of pollution in the air increase risks for people with asthma and premature death for people with emphysema, lung cancer and heart disease.

The guide also touches on the cons of this proposition, saying the repeal of AB 32 will increase air pollution and threaten jobs in California’s clean energy sector. The Voter Guide also states Prop. 23 will decrease incentives for California to find alternatives to oil and leave us dependent on expensive oil.

Supporters and opponents

Supporters of Prop. 23 include some elected air quality/public health officials, the California Small Business Alliance, the California Republican Party, the Association of Energy Service Companies and the National Taxpayer Union.

Opponents of Prop. 23 include the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association of California, the Sonoma County Asthma Coalition, the California Democratic Party and the Public Health Institute.

Student impact

Students may not be directly impacted if Prop. 23 passes, but many students on campus are passionate about the environment. SRJC students have set up tables on Elliott Avenue for the past few weeks protesting Prop. 23, demonstrating how much they care about the environment and believe this proposition will hurt California, not help it.

Funding pro and con

Valero has donated almost $4.1 million to the Yes on 23 campaign, making it the largest donor thus far. Other companies that have donated large amounts of money are Tesoro Companies, which donated $1.5 million, Flint Hill Resources which donated $1 million and Marathon Petroleum Company LLC donated $500,000.

Thomas Steyer, founder of Farallon Capital Management, LLC, has donated $2.5 million to the No on 23 campaign. The Natural Resources Defense Council donated $1.5 million, Robert Fisher donated $1 million and the Green Tech Action Fund donated $500,000.