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A proposition for a clean and green California

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
October 19, 2006


On November 7th Californians can take a giant step for mankind by voting yes on Proposition 87. Voting yes on proposition 87 is a vote to impose higher extraction fees on oil pumped from California and it's coastal waters. Proposition 87 is long overdue.

Historically, oil companies have paid lower extraction fees than elsewhere in North America. By disallowing the oil extraction industry of the ability to take economic advantage of California, California can take advantage of the oil companies and use funds generated to finance the research and development of alternative energy sources and technologies. A vote for Proposition 87 is a vote for environmental stewardship.

The fact that the oil companies are spending millions to oppose Proposition 87 it's clear they have a lot to lose if forced to pay their fair share. The right to exploit California's natural resources should come at a price that reflects the ecological cost of extraction. As this has never been the case, Proposition 87 is a step in the direction of energy independence.

Once passed, Proposition 87 would establish a severance tax on oil production with the goal of reducing petroleum consumption 25% through a $4 billion program. Funded by a tax of 1.5% to 6% ,(depending on oil prices per barrel) The program would be administrated by the California Energy Alternatives Program Authority.

Proposition 87 would be an investment in the health and well-being of all Californians, including future generations. Prop 87 will also encourage an economy based in environmental innovation, while promoting energy conservation and wise use of dwindling resources.

As things stand now, the state of California takes in more revenue from hunting and fishing licenses than oil drilling fees. Oil companies pay billions to extract oil from Texas, Alaska, New Mexico and Louisiana, Prop 87 helps close the compensation gap while addressing the need to move beyond the burning of fossil fuels for our energy needs.

Moving beyond foreign fuel sources, and the imperial politics needed to keep the oil flowing, is in the best interest of long term viability of California as a first rate financial power.

Critics of Proposition 87 want voters to believe that passage would result in higher gas prices. That is simply untrue. Prop 87 prohibits oil companies from passing the cost of the oil severance tax on to the consumer prices as stipulated by California's Attorney General.

Opponents are also pushing the lie that 87 would reduce tax revenues used for education, public safety, health care and transportation needs when it does no such thing.

Prop 87 does not reduce revenue it increases them by requiring oil companies to pay their fair share. Prop 87 does not raid health care funds, where it does promote healthy alternatives to chocking our communities with carbon dioxide which will result in cleaner air and water.

Proposition 87 is good for the environment which means it's good for California, and good for all species that inhabit our part of the planet.

If Californians really want to change the world Prop 87 is the perfect place to start.

Vote yes on Proposition 87.

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