Other voices: Support growth in clean tech industries: Vote No on Prop 23 | TheUnion.com

Other voices: Support growth in clean tech industries: Vote No on Prop 23

Once in a while, we get to make a real choice about the future. Your vote on Proposition 23, the proposal to overturn AB 32, California’s landmark climate change law gradually reducing greenhouse gas emissions, is the big vote.

Our choice is simple. Prop. 23 will devastate California’s struggling economic recovery and will hand our state’s decision-making processes over to powerful out of state interests whose sole motivation is increasing profit.

That’s why the Sierra Business Council is urging you to vote No on Prop. 23.

We’re not alone – business and civic organizations across the state including the Bay Area Council, E-Bay, American Lung Association, National Venture Capital Association, League of Women Voters, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, California Ski Industry Association, Los Angeles Business Council, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and thousands of others, are also urging you to vote No on Prop. 23.

California has benefited over the years from being at the forefront of innovation: In trade, defense, manufacturing, computer technology, biotech, communications and the generation of new ideas.

The fastest growing area of the California economy since the Great Recession has been clean tech and renewable energy technologies. California clean tech is consistently out-performing the state and national economy, capturing 40 percent of all U.S. venture capital, driving the revenue stream for 12,000 companies, and employing 500,000 Californians.

Investments in clean technology, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, build a Main Street economy instead of sending our money to Wall Street.

Due to AB 32, California is leading a new innovation economy aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, saving customers money, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Investments in the California clean tech economy have increased 10 fold in four years, from $288 million per year to more than $2.8 billion per year. Innovation can lead us out of our current recession and help California regain its economic engine.

If Prop. 23 passes, investment in the clean tech economy will be halted in its tracks. Investment will flow overseas, to our Chinese competitors, relinquishing an edge in the clean tech field that we may never regain. California companies that have already invested billions in breakout technologies and manufacturing processes will be cut off at the knees.

Speaking at a recent event at Google, noted venture capitalist Vinod Khosla explained why he and so many others urge a no vote: “Proposition 23 will kill markets and the single largest source of job growth in California in the last two years. Not only that, it’ll kill investment in the long term for creating the next 10 Googles.”

For those of us that live in Nevada County the stakes are high. As California fares, Nevada County fares. We need the economies of the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Sacramento to recover if we are going to see economic recovery here. It is the wealth generated in the entire state and nation that drives our economy; choke that wealth generation off and our economy stays stagnant. When innovation based businesses are created across the state, they are created in our own back yards, and we all benefit

The co-benefits of investing in clean tech and renewable energy are truly stunning; we clean our air, reducing health care costs; we reduce fuel loads in our forests by investing in biomass energy production, making us safer in our homes and property; we create new markets generating local wealth; we create local jobs as we begin to play a role in our own energy production and networks.

Finally, every Californian should be offended by the role that out-of-state big oil interests are playing in this election. Just three companies, Texas based Valero and Tesoro – and America’s second largest privately held company Koch Industries – are bankrolling Prop. 23. Between them they account for more than 90 percent of all money raised for the proposition.

The reason is profit. They profit when you stay dependent on their old technology, antiquated systems and pollution creating processes. We win when jobs are created here in California. It is that simple.

If you want to vote for job creation, for innovation, for walking boldly into a new economy that will benefit our children and their generation, for reducing our dependence on foreign oil, for clean air, and against big oil companies using consumers like their own private piggy bank, Vote No on Prop. 23.

Steven R. Frisch is the president and CEO of Sierra Business Council.

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