Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols Urges Voters to Oppose Prop 10

by Zack Kaldveer 650-375-7846, Mary Nichols, CARB Chair 916-322-5840, No on 10 Campaign

Sacramento, CA. 

Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board Chair, issued a letter today opposing Proposition 10, warning that it could increase global warming emissions. Her letter states:

‘While Proposition 10 appears to be a measure to improve our air and protect the global environment, its public subsidies are heavily skewed toward building markets for an energy source that could increase global warming emissions.  

Under Proposition 10, natural gas cars and trucks would be exempt from air pollution and greenhouse gas reduction requirements, placing them first in line for billions of dollars in taxpayer-financed rebates.  Because U.S. natural gas reserves are declining and natural gas will soon be imported from Asia in liquid form, Proposition 10 is likely to result in higher carbon and smog-forming emissions than other domestic fuel strategies now being developed by researchers and industry engineers, such as cellulosic ethanol, hydrogen fuel cells and renewable electricity.

It gets worse. Proposition 10 provides no assurance that taxpayer-subsidized vehicles will remain in California.  The measure requires us to finance rebates of up to $50,000 per vehicle with no safeguard that any vehicle or accrued benefit will remain in California.  The proposition requires the rebates to be processed in a few days with minimal government oversight.  That is no deal for California taxpayers who will be paying off this measure’s $10 billion dollars in added debt over the next 30 years.

Unlike many other vehicle incentive programs already in effect throughout the State, Proposition 10 does not require that older, higher polluting vehicles be retired or replaced in exchange for rebates.  That is an obvious and serious flaw, further indicating to me that Proposition 10’s real motive is not reducing air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions, but building markets for natural gas vehicles.’


The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency. The mission of CARB is to promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering the effects on the economy of the state.

Mary D. Nichols was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as Chair of the California Air Resources Board in July 2007. She returns to the Air Board 30 years after serving as CARB Chair from 1978 to 1983. Nichols has devoted her entire career in public and private, not-for-profit service to advocating for the environment and public health. She has held a number of positions, including: assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air and Radiation program under the Clinton Administration, Secretary for California’s Resources Agency from 1999 to 2003, and Director of the University of California, Los Angeles Institute of the Environment.

Prop 10 is a $5 billion bond measure on the November ballot. The taxpayer cost to repay the bonds is $10 billion over 30 years. Prop 10 was written and paid for by Clean Energy Fuels Corp, a company owned by Texas oil tycoon T. Bone Pickens. A broad based coalition of environmental, consumer, business, taxpayer, labor and civic organizations opposes Prop 10. 29 newspapers have editorialized against Prop 10. Prop 10 has not earned the endorsement of a single newspaper editorial board or independent environmental group.

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