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Riggs Eckelberry, CEO, OriginOil on Proposition 23 17

Proposition 23, a controversial initiative going to California voters November 2, stands to be one of the biggest setbacks for national clean energy and climate-change policy.
If passed, Prop 23 would effectively overturn California's landmark global warming legislation, suspending California?s 2006 history-making climate bill, AB32, which mandates a 25% reduction in the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Why should we oppose their ballot initiative? Because Prop 23 will threaten the environment and will damage California's green job creation.  

Clean technology is California's newest boom industry, akin to the aerospace and high tech industries that literally built our modern state into the G-8 sized powerhouse that it is today.
AB 32 maintains the market certainty needed for investment, research and development of inventions as well as jobs. 
Since its passage, clean tech venture capital in California has skyrocketed, with investments of more than $6.5 billion. As the economy slowed between 2007 and 2008, total employment fell by 1 percent, but clean tech jobs continued to grow 5 percent.
 That?s something we need to reinforce, not cut back.
If we suspend AB 32, as Big Oil wants, all of that potential will be put on hold. Why should we help large oil companies maximize their profits? 
We do not charge them a dime for drilling in sometimes-sensitive areas like the Santa Barbara Channel. And the heavy metals and pollution from petroleum create a toxic environment for our children and us.
We have to increase our support for clean energy, not cut it back. Because we can?t just talk the talk; we have to walk the walk, too.
I love California, and we have great talent here. But until AB 32 is fully implemented, no one is purchasing the cleaner fuels here. As a result, companies like mine are doing research in state, but producing fuels where consumers are located. 
My own company, OriginOil, has already found its first major customer ? in Australia!
We cannot be a state that promotes its clean tech industry to the rest of the world, but does not itself implement the most basic reforms to its own energy policy. 
That is how countries like Australia get those green jobs instead of California.  Passage of Proposition 23 will accelerate that shift of jobs overseas, hurting California even more in the long term!
Riggs Eckelberry is CEO of OriginOil, a Los-Angeles-based technology provider to the fast-growing algae to oil industry. The company was founded in June 2007, filed for a public offering and has been trading as OOIL (OTCBB) since April 2008.
Wed October 20 2010 10:11:13 PM by Natalia Riggs eckleberry  |  Proposition 23  |  cleantech  |  California 5841 views

Comments - 15

  • Ranjini wrote:
    Fri October 22 2010 03:17:01 AM

    Rigges Eckleberry knows to be in the news all the time.

    Vote Up! 2 Vote Down! 0

  • Duncan wrote:
    Fri October 22 2010 02:05:53 PM

    I fully support you;California should endorse clean technology

    Vote Up! 1 Vote Down! 0

  • Fri October 22 2010 05:32:58 PM

    Why are we getting so much of junk!

    Vote Up! 0 Vote Down! 0

  • Oceanfront wrote:
    Sat October 23 2010 12:00:24 AM

    Yeah, when I see mention of a start up in California, I think Ooh good luck with that. CA is the least pro-business American state. Fact. I do not know the specifics of this proposition 23, but here is the rant of CA dwellers: the state of CA and counties therein make money by issuing penalties and fines to individuals (parking and speeding ticket fines, expensive permits to remove a stump from your property or erect a fence,) and businesses of any size (ever increasing assorted registration fines, penalty fines for non compliance to a law created yesterday...). The state is now in the red as well. CA's way of "raising" money from its citizens is just sanitized corruption. At least in totally corrupt republics, paying off authorities is an acknowledged, straightforward practice and you don't have to wait in line or on the phone for half a day to do it.

    There are states that are in the black and pro - business and less government. Whereas relocating is expensive and not desired, sounds like, I wonder if the problem isn't this one hurdle in the form of this Prop 23 - it's the wellspring of legislation that is California.

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  • Manohar wrote:
    Mon October 25 2010 03:31:17 PM

    <!-- -->

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    What are the national implications of a California ballot initiative that seeks to suspend the state's landmark climate law?

    Golden State voters will decide on November 2 whether Proposition 23 should pass.

    This battle has become a bellwether for the fate of national climate change initiatives. California's climate law paved the way for similar state initiatives and was a model for the federal cap-and-trade legislation, which Democrats tried but failed to move through Congress this year.

    Environmental advocates say passage of Prop 23 could doom that effort for the foreseeable future, while proponents of the initiative argue that California's climate law will wreak havoc on the state's economy. Recent polling and an influx of contributions against the proposition indicate the initiative could likely fail.

    What is at stake for the country when Californians vote on Prop 23? Depending on the outcome, what will be the regional and national repercussions of this initiative? What arguments from both sides of the debate, which mainly focus on the economy, are the most persuasive?

    And how could these arguments reverberate on the national stage?


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  • Manohar wrote:
    Mon October 25 2010 03:33:04 PM

    October 25, 2010 6:20 AM

    Decision Critical To Nation

    By Amy Harder


    (These comments were submitted by Jonathan Wolfson, CEO and co-founder of Solazyme, Inc., a renewable oil company using algal biotechnology to replace petroleum and vegetable oils for fuels, chemicals and food.)

    Californians, like all Americans, are mired in a fiscal crisis.

    Yet instead of addressing that issue, they are being asked to pass Proposition 23, which postpones and effectively overturns Assembly Bill 32 (AB32), a landmark job-creating law that regulates harmful carbon emissions.

     Passing Prop 23 would likely turn back the clock by a decade or more on fighting carbon pollution.

     It would have the further effect of costing California billions in gross state product, and thousands of jobs while continuing to accelerate the harmful emissions filling California?s air. AB32 has been an outstanding catalyst for technology innovation and job growth and since it was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006; California?s clean tech industry has had five-percent job growth while the state overall has suffered a one-percent decline. AB32


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  • Oceanfront wrote:
    Tue October 26 2010 02:47:28 AM

    It was in the news three days ago that British Petroleum is and has been funding certain American senators' election campaigns - sentators who have expressed doubt about the reality of global warming and or the need for environmental protection legislation - even if those initiatives create jobs and income for the state.  This article is from the Guardian (U.K.) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/24/tea-party-climate-change-deniers

    Also, OpenSecrets.org aims to track big money donations from those who would seek to influence U.S. midterm elections. 

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  • Manohar wrote:
    Tue October 26 2010 10:17:08 AM

    This is getting trickier and murkier.

    Vote Up! 1 Vote Down! 0

  • Oceanfront wrote:
    Tue October 26 2010 10:41:25 PM

    The big money funding politics thing isn't shocking as it's nothing new and it will continue.  But these dealings can't stand up to an informed, voting populace.  Not in the long run. The old way works because voters let it. 

    If there is one commonwealth on earth that should absoultely and for many reasons be prosperous, it is California.  But California is broke because of years of colossal mismanagement and voter passivity. 

    So what to do?  If you live in CA (or anywhere really) visit your local state legislation office.  Get informed about upcoming opportunities to vote for your personal and community interests and show up to vote accordingly.  Your job must allow you to vote.  You can also get absentee voting ballots to mail.  Get friend involved and to the polls.  CAn't decide who to vote for?  if it's a senator running for reelection, pull up their public voting history from the senate, and so on.  Pay attention to peoples' actions, and vote on the little elections too. 

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  • Arden wrote:
    Wed October 27 2010 03:30:38 AM

    I used rubbish such information as rumour. Now it looks like that is the only way things work.?

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  • Oceanfront wrote:
    Thu October 28 2010 08:50:53 AM

    Arden, you're in Germany? Politics and voting in America is a free-for-all. Undesired policies continue on because they go unopposed by voters.

    Vote Up! 3 Vote Down! 0

  • Thu October 28 2010 09:18:05 AM

    October 27, 2010 4:46 PM

    Do you agree?
    Robust Economy Needs Affordable Energy

    By David Kreutzer

    Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change, Heritage Foundation

    Proposition 23 seeks to put some of California?s more egregious energy regulations on hold?at least until the California economy recovers. Current law will force consumers to switch to energy sources that can be four or more times as expensive as conventional energy, driving energy prices up, employers out, and consumers crazy. The current rules make especially little sense in the current economic environment.

    In addition to the standard environmental groups, those financing the opposition to Proposition 23 are mainly financiers who stand to gain from restrictions on conventional energy and billionaires who are far removed from worries over monthly energy bills and losing a job. The problem for the other 37 million Californians is that they do worry about how they can pay higher energy bills and about getting and keeping a job.

    The notion that restricting access to affordable energy will make us world leaders in the production of alternative technology doesn?t jibe with past experience. We are world leaders in the consumption of televisions, cell p...

    Read More

    Vote Up! 3 Vote Down! 0

  • Jacintha wrote:
    Thu October 28 2010 10:14:51 PM

    OCTOBER 28, 2010 10:24 AM

    Do you agree?

    Prop 23?s Regional Repercussions

    By Eileen Claussen

    President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

    As others have pointed out in the discussion of California?s Proposition 23, which would suspend the landmark climate law (AB32), passage would have wide-ranging implications for both the state itself and the national debate on comprehensive climate and energy policy in the U.S. These concerns for both California- and national-level climate action are valid ? by creating a policy environment of extreme uncertainty, Prop 23 threatens to freeze the currently expanding investment in clean technology in the state. It is also arguably the new ?battleground? on comprehensive climate legislation in the U.S., given the current state of affairs in the U.S. Congress.

    But there?s an intermediate level of climate action that also is at stake with passage of Prop 23. Success for the fledgling cap-and-trade portion of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) hinges on California...

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  • Jacintha wrote:
    Mon November 01 2010 02:23:42 PM

    In the most closely watched environmental election fight in the country, national conservation groups, Silicon Valley moguls, Hollywood celebrities and California politicians have waged a scorched-earth campaign against Valero Energy Corp., the nation's biggest independent oil refiner and the principal backer of Proposition 23, a Nov. 2 ballot measure to suspend California's ambitious global-warming law.

    The opposition has been able to characterize this issue as Texas oil companies ? dirty companies 
    and dirty polluters, says Valero Chief Executive Bill Klesse.

    Few major oil companies have joined Valero's ballot fight against California's effort to curb greenhouse gases, apart from Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries and Tesoro Corp., which is based in San Antonio, as is Valero.

    So what do refineries such as Valero have at stake when voters take to the polls on Tuesday? It's really an anti-fossil fuel law, Klesse told Wall Street analysts on a recent conference call. And Valero's business is fossil fuels.

    But lost in the uproar over the initiative, which has attracted more contributions for and against than any measure on the ballot, is a basic issue: What would it take for Valero to comply with AB 32, California's Global Warming Solutions Act?

    Would it cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars? Would it force the closure of California refineries? Would it mean passing huge costs onto the consumer? Would it mean shipping in gasoline to the West Coast from Asian refineries?

    With the world's eighth-largest economy, California has an outsized impact. It has already begun adopting regulations under the act, including a mandate that one-third of the state's electricity come from solar, wind and other renewable sources within a decade and phasing out coal-fired electricity from out-of-state power plants.

    Another rule would cut by 10% the carbon intensity of gasoline and other fuels. Carbon intensity is a measure of the amount of carbon emitted over a fuel's life cycle, including extraction, refining, transport and combustion. The new limit would discourage Valero and other refiners from using crude that comes from Canada's oil sands, extracted in an energy-intensive process, and ethanol that comes from plants using coal-fired power. Operating costs ? and therefore gasoline prices ? could increase.

    In a way, the low-carbon fuels [standard] is an electric-car mandate, Klesse said.

    Regulators acknowledge as much: As gas prices rise, cars driven with electricity derived from renewable sources become more economical. The standard invites electricity to go toe-to-toe with gasoline, said Stanley Young, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board.

    And it creates powerful incentives for alternatives to the fuels Valero makes at its Wilmington plant. Shortly after California approved its low-carbon standard, Exxon Mobil Corp. announced that it would invest $600 million with a La Jolla biotech firm to create fuel from algae. Even Valero has purchased 10 corn ethanol plants in the Midwest.

    AB 32's most expansive program is to be adopted in December: a cap on the emissions of large industrial facilities such as Valero's. As in Europe's cap-and-trade market, California would issue emission permits, which companies would then be free to buy and sell on the open market as a way to cut costs.

    The design of California's cap-and-trade system is still under debate, with various industries lobbying intensely over the details. But officials say it will likely begin by granting free permits and phase in auctioned permits over the next decade.

    To cut their carbon footprint, refiners will have to use less energy to make the same product,Young said.

    In fighting AB 32, Valero officials had suggested in the past that the cost of complying with the law could total $170 million a year for its two California refineries, in Wilmington and Benicia. But in the conference call with analysts, Valero acknowledged that the annual cost might be closer to $80 million. We don't have the rules or regulations or how it's all going to work,
    Klesse said.

    Those estimates don't take into account California regulators' pledge to introduce new rules slowly in the early years, and give breaks to firms that face out-of-state competition from unregulated competitors, such as Asian oil refiners.

    But whatever the cost, Klesse said, it will all be passed through to the consumer. The companies aren't going to able to absorb this or they're going to go out of business.

    In fact, a rise in the price of fossil fuels, leading to a drop in consumption and combustion, is exactly what the state's global warming law is designed to accomplish. But that wont necessarily mean higher bills for consumers, Young said.

    If a slew of AB 32 regulations accomplish their goals, Californians will drive more fuel-efficient cars, live in greener homes, use more energy-efficient appliances, live closer to public transit and use more electricity from renewable sources. That would drive down the need for fuel, along with the greenhouse gas emissions from Valero's Wilmington plant.

    It could also hammer Valero's profits. Unlike integrated oil companies such as Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon, which drill and distribute crude oil as well as refine it, independents such as Valero and Tesoro cannot spread costs across other operations.Through the first nine months of 2010, Valero has posted a profit of $762 million on revenue of $63.6 billion, after two calendar years of losses.

    But with gasoline demand still in a slump because of the recession, independent refiners are fighting for their lives, said Doug Leggate, a senior analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Valero owns 13 refineries outside the state, but AB 32 puts companies with California refineries at a gross disadvantage, Leggate said. They would have to incur additional costs.

    Proposition 23 is trailing badly in the polls, and Klesse was pressed in his call with analysts to explain how his company would deal with the reality that California is getting tough on carbon emissions.How does Valero respond to the cap-and-trade and low-carbon fuel provisions of AB 32? one caller asked. And how do you see the situation playing out in the state?

    After all the drama of the Proposition 23 campaign, all the inflammatory TV spots on both sides, all the political consultants and news conferences, all the tens of millions of dollars poured into the fight, Klesse's response was notably matter-of-fact. Well let the voters vote,he said.Were in business in California and it'll just continue. And we'll see what the actual regs look like, and then we'll take actions around them.

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  • Natalia wrote:
    Thu November 04 2010 10:03:01 PM

    The people have spoken: Proposition 23, the notorious California ballot initiative that would have rolled back the state?s landmark new air pollution control law, has been shot down in flames.

    Naturally, clean tech companies are rejoicing over the defeat of Proposition 23 along with others who supported the 'No on 23' campaign, but there is one key player in the sustainability field that you probably aren?t going to hear from, at least not officially, and that?s the U.S. military.

    Climate Change, Proposition 23 and the U.S. Military

    The branches of the armed services are on a full-throttle move toward sustainable energy, and the Department of Defense has officially declared that climate change is a national security issue. A thriving, growing clean tech sector is absolutely vital to these efforts, and the passage of Proposition 23 would have thrown a huge monkey wrench into it.

    Stalling the growth of clean tech businesses in California would have been bad enough, but given the size and influence of California?s economy it would have sent a chilling message to business throughout the U.S. For one thing, the financial backing would have dried up: major investors were among those opposed to Proposition 23.

    The U.S. Military and The Fossil Fuel Industry

    Whether intentionally or not, Proposition 23 was opposed to U.S. national security interests, so I think it?s fair to infer that the U.S. military has been a sort of silent partner in the ?No on 23″ effort. That makes the fossil fuel industry?s response to the vote sort of ? well, strange.

    The lobbying group Heartland Institute lead off with the headline 'Vested interests Pour Big Money Into Defeating California Prop 23.' Heartland made the whole thing out to be a battle of David vs. Goliath with the Prop 23 supporters playing the part of David ? conveniently ignoring the fact that Prop 23 was mainly financed by the oil industry. Well, whatever. That?s all in the past. Now that California is back on track with a strong, statewide renewable energy policy, sunny days are here again.


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