CA & WA: Breaking the Oil Addiction

By voting for Proposition 87, California voters have the opportunity to join a growing number of states in investing in clean energy. Backing the proposition are more than just environmental groups. Unions, civil rights organizations, health workers, and many others have joined in the fight for clean energy. The proposition would tax companies drilling for oil in California and set aside the money collected in a fund for loans, grants and subsides to promote alternative fuels and more energy-efficient vehicles. In addition to the environmental benefits, it will decrease dependence on foreign oil.

Not surprisingly, the oil and gas industry is desperate to defeat the initiative and have spent over $60 million dollars campaigning against the proposition. The amount of money the opposition is spending to defeat the bill shows that a successful clean energy proposition threatens the status quo of easy oil profits based on foreign imports. The vast majority of Americans support developing alternative energy technology and successful initiatives have passed in other states.

Colorado was the first state to pass an initiative requiring the use of renewable fuels as part of the energy provided. The successful initiative required 10% of energy consumed to come from renewable energy sources. Environmental groups are pressing to double the amount this year. A cost benefit analysis of the measure concluded that 2,000 new jobs would be created and Colorado would receive hundreds of millions of dollars in savings, investment and income.

In Washington, voters are considering a clean-energy initiative that goes beyond the current Colorado requirement and calls for 15% of the power to come from clean energy by 2020. The initiative is backed by a strong coalition, including U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, environmental groups, and the Washington Public Utility Districts Association. Joining the coalition are the American Lunch Association of Washington, the American Cancer Society, and the League of Women Voters.

Clean energy is bringing together more than just environmentalists. Anyone concerned about health, good governance, or civil rights, just to name a few, will recognize that clean energy is an integral part of achieving these goals.

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