The fight over a November ballot initiative to suspend California's global warming law has escalated sharply with the Koch brothers, oil billionaires and "tea party" backers, making a million-dollar entry into the fray.
The contribution to the campaign for Proposition 23 came Thursday from a subsidiary of Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries, the nation's second-largest private company (after the agribusiness giant Cargill). A spokeswoman for the subsidiary, Flint Hills Resources, said the company "may consider additional support." The Kochs' company has estimated annual revenues of $100 billion, owns refineries in Alaska, Texas and Minnesota, and controls about 4,000 miles of oil pipelines.
California's global warming law, known as AB 32, is designed to cut the state's emission of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the end of this decade. A significant chunk of the reductions would come through regulations aimed at fostering alternative fuels and generating electricity from solar, wind and other alternative energy sources.
The ballot measure would suspend the global warming law until the state's unemployment rate dropped below 5.5%, a level achieved only three times in the last three decades. Until now, the measure has been largely financed by two Texas-based companies, Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp., which operate refineries in Wilmington and in Northern California.