Clean Energy Initiative gains support

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LOS ANGELES — Using a neighborhood gas station as a backdrop, Democratic candidate for governor Phil Angelides late last month endorsed Proposition 87, the “Clean Energy Initiative,” which will be on the ballot in November.

Angelides said Californians need to eliminate their dependence on oil and petroleum products. He called the current spike in gasoline prices a burden on working families and said something needs to be done now to bring prices under control. For the near future, he added, California needs to find alternative sources of energy to rely on.

“Prop. 87 would not add to the cost of gasoline,” Angelides said.

At its biennial convention here last week, the California Labor Federation added its endorsement to the measure. Prop. 87 “is supported by people fighting to create cleaner air and new jobs for California,” said federation head Art Pulaski. “The opposition is bankrolled by the oil companies who don’t want to pay California their fair share,” he said.

The “Yes on 87” campaign says the Clean Energy Initiative is a $4 billion effort to cut the state’s dependence on oil by 25 percent over the next 10 years. The measure would assess a tax on oil companies for removing oil from the ground in California — something other states are already doing. The money collected from these assessments would be used to fund research and development of alternative energy sources and encourage their use.

The measure is already supported by a number of consumer, public health and environmental groups, including the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Southern California Public Health Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

While Angelides was sharing his views on energy in downtown Los Angeles, his opponent, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was across town meeting with former President George H.W. Bush, discussing how to exploit California’s offshore oil reserves.

Late last month the Rasmussen poll showed Angelides holding a 2 percent lead over Schwarzenegger despite a negative television ad campaign by Schwarzenegger.