Huffington Post: Grassroots ‘No On Prop 23’ Campaign Poised to Defeat Big Oil

November 3, 2010- After months of message wars between progressive grassroots organizations and big oil companies over Proposition 23, the ballot measure to suspend California's landmark global warming legislation in the name of job creation, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took a jab at the bill last night that may have put the final nail in its coffin.

"The San Francisco Giants defeated the Texas Rangers tonight, just like California voters are going to defeat the attempts of dirty Texas oil companies to undo our clean energy laws at the polls tomorrow," he wrote in a statement.

As of September 2, the Yes on 23 campaign had raised $8.2 million thanks to major contributions from Valero and Tesoro oil companies in Texas and the Kansas-based Koch Industries, which owns oil refineries in Alaska, Texas and Minnesota. The No campaign, which had raised $6 million at this point from progressive organizations like the National Wildlife Federation and the League of Conservation Voters, adopted a strategy of alerting voters to the bill's primary backers.

By the end of September, grassroots activists had successfully turned voters against the measure by branding the Yes on 23 campaign as being bought and paid for by the Texas oil companies, which prompted the oil companies to go on the defensive and freeze all funding to the campaign. Then, in a desperate measure on October 2, representatives from Valero and Tesoro published an editorial in Silicon Valley's Mercury News attempting to convince voters that they are neither Texas companies nor oil companies.

"Neither of our companies can be properly characterized as 'Texas oil companies,'" they wrote. "Our companies have diverse operations in many states, particularly in California… Nor are we, strictly speaking, 'oil companies.' We do not produce oil or own any crude oil reserves. Instead, we buy crude from third parties and turn it into the transportation fuels so vital to the California economy."


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