California's Terminator Takes On Texas Oilmen

Says they are greedy for trying to kill state's green initiatives

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A couple of Texas oilmen carrying carpetbags full of cash are being met at the California border by a couple of powerful Republicans who don’t like what they’re up to.

And what those fossil-fueled rascals are up to is killing California’s burgeoning green economy.

The oilmen and others of their ilk are trying to buy enough votes in the November election to suspend a state law that sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions from refineries in the state. A ballot measure, Proposition 23, that is funded by oil interests, would put those limits on hold until California achieves an unemployment level above 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. Unemployment now hovers about 12 percent.

California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger is furious at this blatant attempt to do to his state what oil interests did to the nation: smother energy policies that would start shifting consumers to clean energy alternatives.

Arnie believes California can best attack its unemployment rate by fostering green-tech. He rightfully argues that the homeland of Silicon Valley can innovate its way to green, economic progress. Said the one-time Terminator:

They’re not interested in our environment; they are only interested in greed and filling their pockets with more money.

Joining Arnie is this fight is Ronald Reagan’s former secretary of state, George Shultz. Shultz had Big Oil in his sights when he uttered this assessment:

You have to conclude that the financiers are less concerned about California than they are about the fact that if we get something that is working here to clean up the air and launch a clean-tech industry, it will go national and maybe international. So the stakes are high. I hope we can win here and send a message to the whole country that it’s time to put aside partisan politics and get an energy bill out of Washington.

Check out the column on this topic by New York Times’ writer Thomas Friedman.


From 2006–2014, Terry was managing editor for Earthjustice's blog, online monthly newsletter and print Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine.