LOS ANGELES–In response to the oil industry’s efforts to qualify a ballot initiative that would roll back California’s landmark climate change legislation (AB 32), two of the nation’s largest internet-driven grassroots progressive organizations — Courage Campaign and CREDO Action — have launched a boycott of the proposed initiative’s largest contributor, Texas based Valero Energy Corporation.
Valero is North America’s largest refiner, its 12th largest toxic air polluter, and recently entered into a $711 million settlement with the EPA for failing to comply with the Clean Air Act. Valero has already contributed $500,000 towards a campaign to suspend California’s “Global Warming Solutions Act” (also known as AB 32), its California Director of Government Affairs is an officer on the initiative committee, and Valero has posted signs at its service stations protesting efforts to stimulate clean energy innovation and regulate pollution.
“What is particularly troubling is that anyone who buys gasoline from Valero is now helping to fund audacious attacks on California’s air quality standards,” said CREDO Action President Michael Kieschnick. “Valero believes it will be cheaper to deceive California voters than to compete in the new energy economy.”
After the non-partisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office referred to the industry-funded research behind Valero’s initiative as “unreliable,” two CREDO Action members e-mailed Valero CEO William Klesse, asking the company to stop its efforts to suspend AB 32. Klesse personally responded via his iPhone, claiming CO2 is “not pollution” — despite scientific consensus and Supreme Court rulings to the contrary.
CREDO Action and Courage Campaign subsequently launched the boycott yesterday, and Klesse has received thousands more e-mails from Californians who have joined the boycott”We are encouraged by the strong early response from our members, but the fight for California’s future has only just begun,” said Courage Campaign Chairman Rick Jacobs.
“As long as misleading Californians is profitable, we know that Valero will not stop,” Kieschnick added.
California’s AB 32 is the world’s most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction legislation, signed into law by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. Since its passage, billions of dollars in private investment has flowed into California’s Clean Energy Technology sector–far more than any other U.S. state. Clean Energy development now represents the fastest growing segment of California’s economy.
“Beyond the wanton destruction of our environment, Valero’s initiative is a job killer for California that will stifle innovation and deepen America’s dependence on foreign oil,” Jacobs added. “Our message to the Texas polluters trying to disguise corporate greed as corporate citizenship is, ‘don’t mess with California.'”