Tea Party Backers Join Fight to Halt Calif.’s Law Aimed at Curbing Pollutants

September 17, 2010

by Jeremy Leaming

The Kansas billionaire brothers noted for funneling large sums of money to Tea Party activities are also drawing attention for their interest in bringing down California's Global Warming Solutions Act intended to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Charles and David Koch, as exposed by The New Yorker's Jane Mayer, have until recently waged an under-the-radar offensive against Obama administration policies. Mayer notes that the brothers "are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry - especially environmental regulation." So it's hardly surprising that the two, as noted by The New York Times have spent, so far, $ 1 million, to promote a ballot measure, called Proposition 23, to stop California's law from taking effect.

The newspaper reports that the brothers' attention to the law has "jolted environmental leaders who are worried that a vote against the law in this state - with its long history of environmental activism - would amount to a powerful setback for emission control efforts in Washington and statehouses across the country."

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national environmental advocacy group, has taken note of the Koch brothers' actions and is girding for battle. Annie Notthoff, with the NRDC, told The Times, "We certainly expect to have a fight on our hands."

Kristin Eberhard, a blogger for NRDC, wrote recently, "Proponents of clean energy and jobs already are battling Proposition 23, a stalking horse ballot initiative funded by out-of-state oil companies Valero and Tesoro and the billionaire Koch brothers that would suspend AB 32 [the Global Warming Solutions Act] indefinitely. Though Proposition 23 is deceptively touted as a ‘jobs protection' bill, its real goal is to keep California dependent on fossil fuels and keep profits pouring into the coffers of those polluting corporations that don't care about sacrificing California's health and clean air standards."