WASHINGTON— This year, call it the Dirty Baker’s Dozen.
The League of Conservation Voters bucked tradition by adding a California ballot measure to its trademark list, reserved until now for members of Congress who consistently vote against clean energy and the environment.
Proposition 23—an oil company-funded effort to repeal the Golden State’s landmark clean energy law—joined 12 senators and representatives as the 13th and final addition to the league’s list for this midterm election cycle.
“I think the eyes of the country and most of the world are watching what happens in California,” LCV president Gene Karpinski told SolveClimate News in a post-announcement interview Thursday.
“They are growing a green economy, even in the face of Congress’s failure to act. We can’t afford to lose,” Karpinski said. “Everything is at stake in California.”
Thus far, the league and its sister organization, the LCV Education Fund, have contributed $1.2 million in an effort to defeat the ballot measure. Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs is the coalition spearheading that drive.
Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 32 into law in 2006. Also known as the Global Warming Solutions Act, it requires the Golden State to slash heat-trapping gases to 1990 levels by 2020.
Initially, a group called the California Jobs Initiative ponied up about $3 million to place Proposition 23 on the ballot. Records show the bulk of its funding comes from Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro, and Koch Industries, based in Wichita, Kan. Billionaire siblings David and Charles Koch maintain oil refineries in three states and 4,000 miles of pipeline.
In late September, George Shultz, secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, praised Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman for opposing Proposition 23. (However, Whitman has said she would suspend AB 32 for at least a year.) Shultz is coordinating efforts with Schwarzenegger to defeat the initiative.
This week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who is not up for re-election this year, released an anti-Proposition 23 video, saying: “We simply cannot allow two out-of-state oil companies to take our state backward and undermine the progress we have made in attracting more than $10 billion in investment capital, employing more than 500,000 Californians, and creating more than 12,000 businesses in the clean technology and energy sectors.”
“Arnold Schwarzenegger proudly signed that law. He’s not going to let it fail,” Karpinksi noted. “There are a lot of important elections November 2 but this is the single most important election.”
O’Connell’s “Extremist Views” Land Her on the List
Christine O’Donnell, a Republican endorsed by the Tea Party, was the 12th addition to the Dirty Dozen list. She caused a stir in the Delaware primary Sept. 14 by upsetting moderate Republican Mike Castle, a former Delaware governor who has served in the House for nine terms. O’Donnell is facing off against Democrat Chris Coons to fill the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden.
A former abstinence educator, marketing consultant and television political commentator endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, O’Donnell attacked Castle for being one of eight Republican House members to vote for a cap-and-trade bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, in 2009. He’s the first of what environmental organizations labeled the “enlightened eight” to suffer a defeat this election season.
“Her extremist views on climate change put her far outside the mainstream, while her support for the failed energy policies of the past make her unfit for the U.S. Senate,” Tony Massaro, LCV senior vice president for political affairs, said Oct. 5 when his organization added O’Donnell to its list.
“Instead of promising to fight to ensure Delaware leads in the creation of the 21st century’s clean energy economy,” Massaro continued, “O’Donnell is running for Senate to block a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that creates jobs, reduces carbon pollution and increases energy independence.”
More Than Half of Dirty Dozen Defeated
LCV claims that more than 60 percent of the Dirty Dozen have been defeated since the list’s debut in 1996.
Republican Richard Pombo was the first candidate named to the 2010 Dirty Dozen list to lose a race this year. In California’s June primary, the former representative lost his chance to compete for the 19th Congressional District seat.
Just one Democrat, Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, has been named to this year’s list. Other Republican Senate candidates earning the “honors” include Sharron Angle of Nevada, Ken Buck of Colorado, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Carly Fiorina of California.
On the House side, incumbent Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota made the list. She is joined by two other Republican candidates who are trying to reclaim their former House seats.
Steve Pearce is attempting to once again represent New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District after failing to win a U.S. Senate seat a few years ago. Former Michigan Rep. Tim Walberg is back on the ballot after Democrat Rep. Mark Schauer beat him out for the 7th Congressional District seat two years ago.