Election 2010: Proposition 23 – Lots of out-of-state donations for, against | SierraSun.com

Election 2010: Proposition 23 – Lots of out-of-state donations for, against

Kyle Magin
Sun News Service

NEVADA COUNTY, Calif. – One county resident has donated to the campaign to delay implementation of California’s landmark climate change legislation.

Hills Flat Lumber Co. CEO Jeff Pardini contributed $500 to the Yes on 23 campaign, according to Cal Access, the Secretary of State’s website that tracks campaign contributions.

If passed, Proposition 23 would suspend implementation of certain state environmental regulations until the state’s unemployment rate drops below 5.5 percent and stays there for more than one year. The state’s unemployment rate is now above 12.4 percent.

The law that could be suspended is 2006 legislation called AB32, also called the California Global Warming Solutions Act, imposing the nation’s strictest emissions standards in an attempt to slow global climate change. Some scientific studies point to emissions as a major factor in global warming.

“I think it’s inherently unfair to put regulation on businesses and consumers after the fact,” Pardini said. His company would need to overhaul its fleet of 10 diesel trucks to comply with the 2006 law, an expense he estimates at $150,000.

“I’m as green as it gets. We have solar power and thermal energy at both stores,” Pardini said, referring to the family-run stores in Grass Valley and Colfax. “But I believe in letting the economy get back on its feet before these restrictions take effect.”

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No county residents have donated to the No on 23 campaign.

“I’m not sure why there aren’t more people donating,” said Steve Frisch, president of the Sierra Business Council; he supports California’s existing global warming legislation. “It might be because some of the companies who are donating to the program operate in our county but are located elsewhere.”

Donors outside of California have contributed significant amounts to both sides of the campaign.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated by Texas-based energy firms such as Valero to pass Prop. 23. Conversely, environmental groups from New York state have contributed to the No on 23 campaign.

Prop. 23’s supporters, like Pardini, contend the measure would stimulate California’s flagging economy by alleviating restrictions and burdens on businesses. But critics say the measure would cripple the state’s fastest-growing industry – green building and green technology, Frisch said.

Under the existing climate change regulations, California is “creating literally hundreds of thousands of jobs in energy efficient technologies,” Frisch said. “This is where the economy is going. California has been the leader of the innovation economy in the United States for the last 50 years. It started with defense, then Silicon Valley and biotech.” Frisch compared the benefit of innovations in the green energy field to discoveries made by NASA in the last century.

A new poll shows Californians are divided over Prop. 23.

A Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll released last week shows 40 percent of likely voters favor Prop. 23, compared to 38 percent who oppose it. That’s within the poll’s sampling error margin of 3.3 percentage points.

One in five likely voters said they have not yet taken a position on the initiative.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.