The quiet lie: California Renewable Energy Initiative

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If you live in California, no doubt you have seen the ads touting Prop. 78, which aims to reduce gas use over the next 10 years. If you have seen those ads, then I am sure you have seen the ads AGAINST Prop.78…and they do seem to make sense. Until you see that they are paid for by Chevron. I was going to do a post about this Prop. in the next couple of days, but Think Progress has a great one up today that makes sense out of it all. Take a look:

“In a few months, Californians will vote on Proposition 87, a ballot initiative that aims to reduce gasoline usage by 25 percent over 10 years. Specifically, the initiative creates an alternative energy fund by making oil companies pay extraction fees for drilling in California, much like they do in Louisiana, Alaska, and Texas.

Not surprisingly, the oil industry-funded opposition campaign is misleading the public about its impact:

Raising the cost of California oil will make companies more willing to import foreign oil into the state, which could raise pump prices, said Al Lundeen, a spokesman for the anti-Prop. 87 forces.

“We think it will very clearly impact consumers,’’ he said.

The initiative also would create a new state bureaucracy to administer the tax money, he said, and while California is one of few oil-producing states without an oil severance tax like this one, the other taxes it charges oil producers more than make up for that.

The facts show otherwise:

1. Prop 87 would not increase gas prices. “Since the tax would decline as the price of oil fell, it would not hurt production or affect gasoline prices, said Severin Borenstein, director of the University of California Energy Institute. ”˜No one will shut down a well because of this,’ Borenstein said, adding that at most, it will discourage new oil-production projects. ”˜I have seen no evidence this incremental loss in profit (for the oil companies) is significant.’”

2) Prop 87 would not create a new level of bureaucracy. Section 6(b) of the initiative reorganizes and strengthens a current state board called the California Alternative and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority. The amendment will rename the board the California Energy Alternatives Program Authority, and expand the board from 4 to 9 members to include experts on energy markets, alternative energy, consumer advocacy, and public health.

3) Oil companies do not pay their fair share to the state of California. “Borenstein said the tax is not that high, noting that other states already have higher taxes on oil production, including Texas. California oil producers currently pay a severance fee, which is significantly lower than in other states, Borenstein added.”

So now….should you vote for or against Prop. 78? I say for..but then again, I would like to reduce our gas consumption and not give the oil companies another tax break and way to rip off California.

Think Progress is a great source for political information, be sure to check them out!

technorati tags:Proposition 78 California big oil chevron

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