Don’t Protect Polluters: Vote No on Propositions 23 and 26

RAMP and our partners have successfully advocated for policies to reduce the burden of asthma, including reducing exposure to asthma triggers in schools, homes, and the environment for many years.  Two initiatives sponsored by oil and tobacco interests on November’s ballot threaten to undermine our efforts to ensure safe schools, healthy homes, and clean air.  We oppose Propositions 23 and 26 because protecting polluters would result in dirtier air and cause more asthma-related hospital and emergency department visits. We encourage you to lend your name and support to those standing in opposition to these two attempts to trick the public into giving polluters a free pass to contaminate our environment.

Read on to learn more about each proposition and how you can help.

Proposition 23

This proposition, which is largely funded by out of state oil companies Valero and Tesoro, would effectively repeal California’s landmark law to address climate change (AB 32) meaning more air pollution and associated illness like asthma. Many health organizations, hospitals and medical professionals oppose Proposition 23. We must protect California’s clean energy and clean air standards that continue to prevent illness and death from air pollution — a common and virulent asthma trigger. For more information about the campaign, click here. For a helpful video about the importance of defeating the Proposition, click here.

Already familiar with Prop 23?  Meet its sneaky partner,  Proposition 26.
It’s not a surprise that you may have heard more about Proposition 23 and less about Proposition 26. The former is much more well funded by those both for and against the initiative. But there’s plenty, if not more, cause for concern if Prop 26 passes. In a nutshell, the Proposition would undermine the concept that the polluter pays and as a result would let oil, tobacco and alcohol industries off the hook for the harm they cause. Nearly all of the efforts to regulate, prevent, and mitigate the harmful effects of polluting or harmful industries are paid for through fees on those industries. Prop 26 would reclassify such fees as taxes that require a two-thirds vote of the state legislature or the local electorate, making assessing such fees nearly impossible. This would have a significant impact on public health efforts to establish, improve, and enforce a broad range of regulations, from reducing diesel pollution to creating safer schools to ensuring healthy rental housing.

How are the two propositions linked? Think of it this way: if Prop 23 fails, in theory the State’s landmark climate change program (AB 32) will be protected. But if Prop 26 passes, the State will face a likely insurmountable hurdle to placing the fees needed to fund the implementation of AB 32 on polluting businesses that cause global warming. As the Planning and Conservation League recently put it, “When a business has to pay because they pollute too much, cleaning up their act to save money becomes a key incentive, without that incentive, California stands to become even more polluted.”

All in all it’s a bad combination, which is why RAMP urges you to vote ‘no’ on both propositions. For more information about the anti-26 campaign, visit here. For more information about the policy and political connections between the two propositions, click here, here and here

What you can do to help reject Propositions 23 and 26

  • Vote no on Propositions 23 and 26! And tell your colleagues, friends and families to do the same;
  • Endorse the No on Prop 23 and the No on Prop 26 campaigns;
  • Send a letter to the editor to your local paper (for Prop 23 click here; for Prop 26, click here);
  • Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter;
  • Make phone calls on behalf of the campaign (Prop 23 has an easy, automated process to help you on its website)
  • Request a speaker for an event; and
  • Educate yourself with fact sheets and talking points.
  • For more information about how to do all of the above, click here and here.