CONSUMER FEDERATION LAUNCHES ‘NO ON PROP 10’ WEBSITE calls measure a $10 billion lemon

(CA) ‘ The Consumer Federation of California (CFC) launched – the No on Prop 10 website – dedicated to defeating an initiative that calls for $5 billion in bonds to subsidize natural gas powered vehicles along with a modest investment in renewable energy development.

T. Boone Pickens’ Clean Energy Fuel Corporation paid for the initiative which would cost taxpayers $10 billion over the 30 year life of the bond. Prop 10 uses taxpayer handouts to favor natural gas powered vehicles over cleaner technologies such as hybrids. Clean Energy Fuel Corp. is a major supplier of natural gas for vehicles and it stands to make a fortune if the initiative passes.

‘Prop 10 is the worst kind of corporate raid on the public coffers. It would do next to nothing to reduce air pollution yet adds $335 million a year to our state’s unprecedented $15 billion budget deficit,’ stated Richard Holober, Executive Director of CFC. ‘We shouldn’t make deeper cuts to our schools, public safety and health programs to enrich a fossil fuel corporation.’

In explaining why NOT ONE major environmental group has endorsed the measure, CFC cited the cornerstone of the measure: $2.5 billion in subsidies to trucking companies to purchase ‘clean’ vehicles powered by natural gas that are no worse polluters than diesel and gasoline powered trucks that are on the road. Initiatives backers have redefined the pollution status quo as ‘clean’ as long as the vehicles fuel up at Mr. Pickens gas stations. In theory, Prop 10 also subsidizes other alternative energy technologies, but these theoretical technologies are not on the market.

Prop 10 excludes hybrids from its definition of a ‘clean’ vehicle. A purchaser of a natural gas powered car would receive a $10,000 state rebate while a hybrid car with an identical California clean vehicle rating receives only a $2000 rebate ‘ even though hybrids are a cheaper technology already making substantial inroads into the marketplace.

Initiative opponents point out that after interstate trucking companies collect their $50,000 Prop 10 rebates for every natural gas powered truck purchased, they can relocate these trucks out of state and sell their old ‘dirty’ trucks to California truckers who will keep on polluting the air.

‘Prop 10’s lavish rebates for natural gas-powered cars and trucks would actually tilt the marketplace away from cleaner technologies that are taking root in California,’ Holober said. ‘The major beneficiary of this $10 billion boondoggle would be T. Boone Pickens’ natural gas fueling business.’

Other Prop 10 opponents include: California Labor Federation; Consumer Watchdog; The Utilities Reform Network (TURN); Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA); California Federation of Teachers; and the California Tax Reform Association.

The Consumer Federation of California is a non-profit organization, established in 1960, that advocates for consumer protection laws and regulations.