Thursday, October 30, 2008

Prop 7 and 10

A pair of initiatives on the California ballot this year tries to appeal for renewable energy and alternative fuels. They are Proposition 7 and Proposition 10.

According to the ballot, Proposition 7 basically seeks to impose and change some new and existing requirements on renewable energy generation by utilities. There's a bunch of other legal mumbo jumbo that'll probably put you to sleep.

Meanwhile, Proposition 10 seeks to borrow money in the form of bonds to distribute rebates for "clean alternative fuel" vehicles or other related incentives. If you want to read the raw legal mumbo jumbo, click here.

At a glance, these measures look promising and a no-brainer for the future of the state (let alone our environment).

But then, when you look at the fine print and the arguments for and against (and who's making those arguments), that's when the devil's in the details.

Here's some supplemental reading to get the skinny on these measures (I'm sure there's a lot more literature out there though)...

After spending quite a bit of time mulling over all this text, I've decided to vote no to both of these measures (actually, I'm voting No to every proposition except Prop 1A regarding the High Speed Rail, Measure R, and Prop 2).

Why?

For Prop 7, after getting tugged both ways by hearing arguments for and against, one telling indicator is where the Sierra Club stands (among other sustainability advocates). They opposite it! If you can't get one of the greenest organizations to buy into a "renewable energy" measure, then it begs for more scrutiny and skepticism. Another thing that bothered me about this measure is that it's hard to understand with all the stipulations in there (a real indicator that something is being sneaked in there by politicians and special interests). Generally if I don't understand the measure, I vote no anyways.

As for Prop 10, it seems clear that the big winner in the choice for alternative fuel rebates would be natural gas. This is BS because natural gas is a fossil fuel, which is not clean regardless of what anyone says since it needs to be dug up and it emits chemical byproducts. I'm not even sold on biofuels (another "alternative fuel") because of the amount of land clearing (i.e. deforestation), water diversion, and substitution of food for energy. Really, we ought to have solar plug-in hybrid electric cars if we're serious about zero emissions. Keep in mind that GM had the electric vehicle back in the early 90s before conspiring to destroy them (something to think about when the Feds are about to give them some of that $700 Billion corporate welfare bailout money).

As you can see, politics has lots to do with our future let alone waterfalling. I can only hope Californians read the fine print and really think about what they're voting for regarding these measures.

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