Whitman still wants to suspend greenhouse-gas law but opposes Prop. 23

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Republican Meg Whitman said Thursday she opposed a measure on the November ballot that would suspend the state’s greenhouse-gas law.

Ending weeks of speculation, Whitman said in a statement that she was opposed to Proposition 23, even though she had called for her own one-year suspension of AB 32, the law Proposition 23 seeks to roll back. For the last week, Whitman’s Democratic opponent, Jerry Brown, has called on Whitman to take a stand on the November ballot measure.


In the statement, Whitman reiterated her call that AB 32 was ‘a job killer,’ but said a one-year suspension was sufficient at this point.

‘My plan is to suspend AB 32 for at least one year while we develop the sensible improvements the law badly needs to protect the jobs of hard-working Californians while improving our environment,’ she said. ‘This is not an easy issue. While green jobs are an important and growing part of our state’s economic future, we cannot forget the other 97% of jobs in key sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and energy. We compete for jobs with many other states, and our environmental policy must reflect that reality.’

Brown campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford said Whitman’s position on the measure was ‘two empty gestures in one press release’ and called it an example of ‘transparent politicking.’

‘Throughout this campaign, she’s tried to have everything every way,’ Clifford said. ‘Nobody has any idea what a Meg Whitman governorship would mean.’

AB 32 sets targets for California to roll back its greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Proposition 23 would put the law on hold until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% for an entire year. The state currently has an unemployment rate of 12.4%.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Reuters