05/23/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Hey California: Don't Get Fooled Again

Down in the Lone Star State, they like to say that everything is bigger in Texas. I am not sure they were talking about the lies Texas companies like to try and sell the good people of California, but they should have been. In fact, with April 1st just around the corner, it seems that Texas oil companies bankrolling the initiative to suspend AB 32 are counting on Californians to be willing to be fooled again (remember what Enron did to Golden State, anyone?)

Anti-AB 32 groups first relied on the now completely debunked "Varshney Study" to "prove" that passing this legislation would be the ultimate job killer and lead to skyrocketing consumer costs. But now that the Legislative Analyst's Office has torn the research to shreds, calling it "unreliable" and "essentially useless", the anti-AB32 force is focusing on some new junk science to stand in as a replacement.

The California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) is using an oil industry-funded study conducted by the Pacific Research Institute to support its argument of the negative impacts of clean energy legislation. And it's no surprise that CMTA is the voice promoting this study, since the group has already announced its support for "AB 32 Suspension" in a recent press release as well as shelling out big bucks as one of the main sources funding the "AB 32 Implementation Group" (which contrary to the title, is code for the force working to suspend AB 32).

But like we saw with the Varshney Study, just because you paid a scientist to create it doesn't make it true. So before you buy into the "facts", make sure you are aware of the variables that are manipulating the data behind the scenes:

  • The oil industry: Valero is a leading member of CMTA, contributing over $500,000 to help suspend AB32. Also, Valero lobbyist Michael Carpenter happens to be one of the board members of the Pacific Research Institute, which has funded the study.
  • The author of the study Thomas Tanton: consultant to the oil and gas industry and Senior Research Fellow with the Pacific Research institute where a Valero lobbyist sits on his board. He is also a former VP at the Institute for Energy Research (IER), an organization funded by oil and gas interests, which has received over $200,000 of funding from ExxonMobil.
  • CMTA's VP of Government Relations, Dorothy Rothrock: was an industry energy consultant for years before joining CMTA. From the moment AB 32 was signed into law Rothrock criticized it - even though unemployment was 4.8% at the time - which makes her support for enacting the initiative when unemployment levels reach that low again very doubtful.

Now that this report is in the same trashcan as the Varshney Study, we're sure that another one is on the way. Wouldn't it be better if the oil companies just stood up and said, look, we don't want progress on clean energy because we will lose in billions in dollars in profits? Wouldn't that be more honest? We doubt that will happen but in the meantime, don't be a fool this April.

AB 32 is a proven job creator and will continue to drive innovation and success for California. It's bad news for big oil companies, and we don't need to create a fake study to know that.