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Prop. 23: Delay eco law until employment up

October 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Proposition 23 would delay California's greenhouse gas-emissions law until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent.Forty percent of Californians say they would vote yes, while 33 percent would vote no. Twenty-eight percent are not yet certain how they'll vote.

Gale Banks is all about "green." His engineering firm in Azusa designs ultra-efficient diesel engines and systems that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The results rival hybrid cars. A dashboard-mounted meter tells you how much you are spending with every push on the gas pedal and since the driver burns less fuel, there's less carbon dioxide.

Banks praises the goals of Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, to reduce greenhouse gases. Yet he says its glitches are killing him.

"We're on the edge. We've eliminated 70 jobs already," said Banks.

Banks joins a host of other business groups who say "yes" on Proposition 23. The measure puts a hold on further tightening of pollution control requirements, requirements that Banks says the state still has not spelled out.

"We just need, all businesses need a goal we can hit," said Banks.

But as Banks loses 70 workers, alternative-energy companies prosper.

"For every six homes that gets a solar electric system on rooftop creates a new job," said Lynn Jurich, president of SunRun Residential Solar.

Jurich says that California has momentum now in green jobs. She urges voting no on Prop. 23 to keep new companies like hers going.

"Through our network we employ about 3,000," said Jurich. "That is up from 1,800 last year, so we have already helped create over 1,000 jobs with solar energy."

As Prop. 23 opponents like actor David Arquette reach out to voters on YouTube, supporters warn of higher costs for consumers and businesses during a recession when they can least afford it.

"If we have to cut people because of the regulation, there's no instant green job for them to go to. Those green jobs are out on the horizon somewhere," said Banks. "Whether or not we even remain in business is at hand here."


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