Environmentalists, Scientists and Academics Unite Against Prop 32

Proposition 32 may very well be the most deceptive ballot measure in California. Don’t take our word for it; just pull back the curtain to see who’s behind it. A secretive group with direct ties to the billionaire Koch Brothers has funneled millions into the phony measure that purports to be about “stopping special interest money,” when in reality all it would really do is give the Kochs and their billionaire buddies even more power and influence to gut worker protections and pollute our environment.

This isn’t the first time the Kochs have bankrolled a bogus ballot measure aimed at tricking California voters for their own personal gain. In 2010, the Kochs were among the primary funders of Prop 23, an intentionally confusing measure that would have repealed California’s landmark climate change law, AB 32. It’s no surprise that Big Oil magnates like the Kochs hate AB 32, because it would cut into their massive profits by shifting our dependence away from their fossil fuels and investing in alternative energy sources and green jobs.

But when they tried to undo the law with Prop 23, Labor united with environmental advocates, scientists and academics to stop them, because we all share the same vision for California’s clean and green economic future. Now, two years later, those same clean-energy advocates are once again uniting with California’s working families to stop the Kochs – this time by defeating Prop 32.

Today, representatives from the Sierra Club, the California League of Conservation Voters, the International Forum on Globalization, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Asian-Pacific Environmental Network, the Blue-Green Alliance and other environmental groups came together at Chrissy Field Center in San Francisco to speak out against the latest Koch-funded effort to hoodwink California voters.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune opened up the event by expressing his group’s strong opposition to Prop 32, and lambasting the Kochs and the corrosive effect their political spending sprees have had on our state.

It's not enough for [the Kochs] to pollute our air, to pollute our water, to pollute our atmosphere- now they want to pollute our elections as well! … Whether it’s Prop 32 or Prop 23, you can switch the numbers around but the story’s still the same. We still have Big Oil Billionaires seeking to undermine the very foundation of a clean energy economy by rolling back green energy measures, rolling back global warming solutions, and rolling back the policies that strengthen our middle class and allow our economy to grow. We didn’t stand for it then – we defeated Prop 23 two years ago, and we’re going to defeat Prop 32 today.

In conjunction with today’s event, the International Forum on Globalization released a new report outlining that the same billionaire funders seeking to silence the voices of working families through Proposition 32 have a dual agenda to attack clean energy and environmental laws. According to IFG's Victor Menotti, the Kochs are the single largest funder of anti-environment and anti-worker activities, including

  • $1 million in 2010 to overturn AB 32 
  • $4 million through the American Future Fund to support Proposition 32
  • At least $656 million on attacks on environmental protections and workers’ rights

Read the full IFG report here.

Menotti was joined by other academics who underscored the fact that anyone who respects science, the environment, workers and the truth should immediately recognize the Kochs and Prop 32 as an enemy to all of the above.

Laura Wisland of the Union for Concerned Scientists:

These overt, well-funded attacks on labor rights are in the same realm as the overt, well-funded attacks on science — and both, if successful, will weaken our democracy. Make no mistake: Prop 32 would be the first step in a renewed effort to kill California’s environmental advances and threaten hundreds of thousands of green-technology and clean-energy jobs. The Union of Concerned Scientists sees through this phony reform of Prop 32 for what it really is – a way for corporations to buy a Legislature that will roll back California’s environmental advances, reduce the rights of workers and silence the voices of Californians.

Jenesse Miller of the California League of Conservation Voters:

[The Kochs] know that, given the number of strong environmental leaders in the state legislature, they have challenges pushing their anti-environment, anti-regulation agenda through the policy process. So they’re shamelessly going back again to our initiative system, to try and fool voters- this time, laughably, to promote a proposal that claims it would stop the influence of special interest money. With Prop 32 it’s déjà vu all over again, with many of the same big corporations and the same billionaire, right-wing extremists doing their best to get their way by misleading voters and corrupting the electoral process with a deceptive ballot measure.

And it’s not just the academics and environmentalists who are speaking out against Prop 32. State Senator Mark Leno, a lifelong advocate for clean energy as well as workers’ rights, also joined today’s event, where he connected the dots between Citizens United, Prop 32, and the greedy billionaires behind both.

Greed, as we know, is a dangerous thing… But greed doesn’t just relate to fortunes. It can also be in regard to power. The greed of the Koch Brothers and other billionaires in this country aren’t satisfied with just the Citizens United decision. They want more. They don’t think their ability to override every other voice with the size of the fortune they’re spending in the political process is enough. They want to snuff out that last bit of opposing voice. And they believe Prop 32 will provide them with that so the working people won’t have a chance at all.

Lisa Hoyos, California Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, the clean energy advocacy organization that organized the event:

It is important for every Californian who cares about growing clean energy jobs and fighting climate change to understand the threat Proposition 32 poses to realizing that vision. We will work until Election Day to ensure that environmentally minded voters stand firmly against Proposition 32.

Learn more.