SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 28 (UPI) -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday accused several oil companies of conspiring to gut a landmark state climate change law to "protect their profits."
In a speech to the Commonwealth Club in Santa Clara, Schwarzenegger said Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp., as well as Charles and David Koch, two billionaire brothers who own most of Koch Industries, were engaged in what he called a cynical conspiracy to manipulate voters into suspending AB32, which he signed into law in 2006.
Proposition 23 on the November ballot would suspend enforcement of the law until the California unemployment rate is reduced to 5.5 percent for one year. That level standard has been met just three times in the past 40 years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.
Schwarzenegger said the law will create jobs by promoting a "green economy" with solar energy, hydrogen power, bio-energy and a renewable electricity standard that will provide "the seed money for the world's energy revolution," the newspaper said. He said backers of Proposition 23 are using scare tactics and trying to subvert the democratic process in the interest of "self-serving greed."
"They are creating a shell argument that they are doing this to protect jobs," he said. "Does anybody really believe they are doing this out of the goodness of their black oil hearts -- spending millions and millions of dollars to save jobs?
"It's not about jobs at all. It's about their ability to pollute and thus protect their profits."
Valero, Tesoro and Koch Industries are the largest sources of funding behind Proposition 23, KQED-TV, San Francisco, said.