California Teamsters oppose effort to delay global warming measure


The California Teamsters, one of the state’s most powerful unions, has voted to oppose a proposed ballot initiative to delay enforcement of the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act, the nation’s toughest law to control greenhouse gas emissions.

FOR THE RECORD: An article about the California Teamsters’ stance on the Global Warming Solutions Act in Sunday’s Section A misspelled the last name of L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel, as Gruel, and incorrectly referred to her title as city councilwoman.

The Teamsters, with more than 250,000 members in California, is the first major union to officially oppose the measure, which is backed by a group of oil companies, Republican legislators and conservative activists. The group is gathering signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot.

“We must reject efforts to move backwards on protection of the environment,” said Randy Cammack, co-chairman of the Teamsters Public Affairs Council, which unanimously agreed to oppose the measure Friday. “Our members are citizens and neighbors as well as workers. We breathe the same air, drink the same water and live on the same planet with every other human being. …There is no inconsistency between protecting our environment and building a strong and vibrant economy.”

The trucking industry sees it differently. The California Trucking Assn. last week endorsed the measure, which proponents are calling the California Jobs Initiative. The trucking association, which represents 3,600 members who own 350,000 trucks, has been locked in a conflict with the California Air Resources Board over air pollution rules for diesel emissions .

The diesel emissions law, a measure to slash cancer-causing pollution, is separate from the climate law, meant to curb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Valerie Liese, chairwoman of the trucking association, said pending regulations under the climate law would drive manufacturers out of state, resulting in fewer customers for truckers.

The Teamsters’ vote came a day after the 48-member governing board of the League of California Cities rejected a proposal to ask Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Air Resources Board to consider delaying enforcement of AB 32, the climate law. Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Gruel led the opposition to the rollback proposal, according to supporters of the law.

The league also reaffirmed its support for another key measure to control greenhouse gases: SB 375, a law that awards incentives to cities that control their carbon footprint through “smart growth” measures.