SB350 support hinges on cost vs. environmental protections

MIAMI - JULY 11: Exhaust flows out of the tailpipe of a vehicle at , "Mufflers 4 Less", July 11, 2007 in Miami, Florida. Florida Governor Charlie Crist plans on adopting California's tough car-pollution standards for reducing greenhouse gases under executive orders he plans to sign Friday in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Looking at the results of the California Business Roundtable/California Manufacturing & Technology Association poll on Senate Bill 350, the new climate change policy being considered in the CA Legislature, you can almost see how campaign arguments would be formulated if the hotly debated bill were on a ballot for voters to decide.

The poll conducted by M4 Mobile Research clearly showed that the public at large supports the goals of reducing greenhouse gases. While 82 percent of those polled consider climate change a serious or moderate threat to the state, when the components of the bill are tested the support remains strong.

Cutting petroleum use by half in cars and trucks by 2030, requiring 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources and doubling energy efficiency in buildings over the next 15 years enjoyed overwhelming support, all three items tested in the 70th percentile. Overall, SB350 was favored 66 percent to 27 percent.

However, the overall number turned around when the potential cost was addressed by the pollster.

After testing a wide range of specific arguments from positive to negative on the measure — i.e.: California must lead on climate change issues; implementing this legislation will lead to positive innovation; price of gasoline could increase 13 to 50 cents a gallon; electricity rates could jump 30 to 70 percent; disadvantaged citizens will be particularly hard hit by the change – the respondents were again asked if they supported or opposed SB350.

Support dropped from 66 percent to 44 percent, opposition increased from 27 percent to 48 percent.

Rob Lapsley, head of the California Business Roundtable summed up the poll succinctly when he said, “costs matter … details matter.”

The details of how to achieve the goals expressed in the bill are not contained in the measure.

Dorothy Rothrock said manufacturers in her association are feeling the pinch from electricity costs associated with climate change laws already on the books and can see incredible increases in the future if this bill passes in its current form.

Which leads to speculation, will this fight spill out of the capitol building and on to the ballot?

If the bill is passed and signed by the governor, will a referendum effort be mounted to ask the voters to decide – those voters who embrace the idea of a clean environment and climate change legislation but are leery of what the costs would mean for the economy, jobs and low income citizens?

The poll indicates that the arguments are lined up to produce quite a donnybrook if the voters are consulted.

Related Articles

Card Check Bill Boosts Union Punch

MAY 17, 2011 By KATY GRIMES California’s agriculture workers can expect to be unionized very soon. A bill that would

Cal Chamber sues state for profiting from AB 32

Nov. 15, 2012 By Wayne Lusvardi The California Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday sued the state of California to stop

Tax-Funded Handout: Free WiFi

Ali Meyer: Looks like California taxpayers may have one more thing to pay for on their list.  State Sen. Alan