California's secretary of state, Debra Bowen, has certified a sixth measure for the Nov. 2 general election ballot. The initiative would suspend some air pollution control laws until unemployment drops below a specified level for a full year.
The initiative would suspend A.B.32 – California's greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction law – until the state's unemployment rate drops to 5.5% or less for four consecutive quarters.
It also requires the state to abandon implementation of a comprehensive GHG program that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries, until the suspension is lifted.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., blamed oil companies for the proposed ballot.
‘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 in a statement. ‘I will not allow this to happen on my watch. We will continue moving this state forward with our comprehensive energy policy that creates jobs, reduces our reliance on foreign oil and ensures the California we love will be the California we hand over to the next generation.’
In order to qualify for the ballot, this initiative needed 433,971 valid petition signatures, which is equal to 5% of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2006 general election. The initiative proponent, Thomas W. Hiltachk, submitted 800,515 signatures in an attempt to qualify the measure, and it qualified through the random sample signature check, according to the secretary of state.