An Open Letter to Texas: Don't Mess with California

An Open Letter to Texas: Don't Mess with California

Dear Texas,

It has come to my attention that two of your homegrown companies are attempting to change the laws in our fine state. They want to suspend AB 32, a job-creating act that looks towards the future and helps develop new ways to meet our energy and economic needs.

Now Texas, you and I have a lot in common. We are both based on the hard work and scrabble of pioneers who never whined or complained or meddled in the affairs of others. People who made do with what they had and built communities that then became states, for you in 1845 and me in 1850. We both were successful from digging in the earth -- you struck oil and we struck gold.

Now I remember the last time you paid us a visit -- it was 2001, and one of your finer institutions, Enron, came striding up here to sell us power; power that we bought in good faith. Now it was later proven that your Enron was manipulating the price of that power, to the tune of an eight-fold increase.

Millions were forced into rolling blackouts. I was in a State of Emergency, one of my utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric, went bankrupt, and the whole incident cost me around $40 billion. I did not much appreciate that. So now that you and your ten-gallon hat are on my doorstep again, I am takin' notice.

What have you done now? Well, you have gone and put Proposition 23 on OUR ballot. You are proposing that we, California, suspend a state law, AB 32, that is already in effect.

AB 32 is looking to the future, not the past; it is going to create jobs in energy efficient solutions and technologies. New businesses create new jobs, and AB 32 is going to create new businesses. Cleantech is one of the fastest growing areas of the economy, and we reckon the sector will create over 500,000 jobs in California over the next 20 years. We are talking about Californians with skills who we can put back to work.

Funny thing is, AB 32 would even create jobs for you. Your former chief deputy comptroller said as much so, just two weeks past. Billy Hamilton said, "incremental changes of a few cents per day would be an attractive investment to reap the job creation and investment gains that clean energy can create over the next decade and beyond."

Now that is one of your own speakin', not some long-haired Berkeley A.K.Demic.  It's a damn shame you want to say no to that, and you want us to say no to that, and stick our heads back in the same hole your head is in, using the same methods of moving people around and creating energy that have been around for a century.

I don't see why you are worried -- we're still buying oil and we know it's not going away soon. You know that big spill in the Gulf this summer? Well, that was 5 million barrels. And our country uses 20 million barrels a day. So we here in California are trying to jumpstart some other options, and you are standing in the way.

Now it strikes me at this point in the conversation that I need to remind you, because you appear to need remindin', that your proposition attempts to suspend OUR LAW passed by OUR STATE LEGISLATURE and SIGNED BY OUR REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR not last year, but IN 2006. Now it seems rather, well, downright unTexan for you to be putting your paws on someone else's government, when you could be out brush clearin' and the like.

For garden's seed, we don't send our tanned celebrities, or Bay Area hippies, or North Coast libertarians down your way, complaining about the way you run things, trying to change YOUR laws. So why are you sending your oilmen our way, trying to change ours?

So Proposition 23? We'll say no. H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks no, as my grandmother, a born-and-bred Texan, used to say. I will not repeal, or suspend, or in any change my laws at your request. If you want to soil the sandbox and stymie job creation, do it in your own backyard, Texas, but don't come knockin' on my door.


Stephen Linaweaver is an associate principal at GreenOrder, an LRN company. GreenOrder is a strategy and management consulting firm that helps companies achieve competitive advantage through environmental innovation.

Images CC licensed by Flickr user Håkan Dahlström.