Some facts behind Proposition 10

by Heather Ishimaru , ABC TV

SANTA CRUZ, CA (KGO) — Supporters say we need it to reach our energy independence and clean air goals. But opponents believe the only thing green about it is the money it makes for one well-known businessman.

Proposition 10 includes consumer rebates for cleaner-fuel vehicles, investment in alternative energy sources and investment in research, development, education and job training for clean and alternative energy technologies and vehicles.

Alan Henderson and Fred Keeley are with the Yes on 10 campaign. Henderson is past president of the California American Cancer Society.

"There are alternative vehicles and alternative energy sources that are waiting for development and begging some trigger in the market to do this," said Henderson from Yes on 10.

Titled the California Renewable Energy and Clean Alternative Fuels Initiative, it calls for a $5 billion bond with nearly $3 billion going to consumer rebates for clean and alternative fuel vehicles. Those rebates range from $2,000 to $10,000 for passenger cars and $25,000 to $50,000 for trucks and big rigs.

More than $1 billion goes to investment on production of electricity from solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and other renewable sources and $875 million for research and development. It also includes job training for operation, maintenance and repair of alternative energy systems.

Yes on 10 spokesman Fred Keeley is Santa Cruz county treasurer and past speaker pro-tem of the State Assembly.

"We are going to have to at this stage when we’re 100 percent dependent on the worst fuel and where we want to be is 100 percent zero-emission vehicles, that’s going to take a series of steps to get there. This measure contains funding for each of those steps to get there," said Keeley.

But opponents say Proposition 10 is about promoting only one alternative fuel — natural gas. That’s because Proposition 10 was put on the ballot BY T-Boone Pickens, who stands to make a fortune if it passes.

He owns the Clean Energy Fuel Corporation, a major supplier of natural gas for vehicles.

A consumer buying a natural gas powered car would get a $10,000 rebate, while a hybrid with an identical clean rating gets only a $2,000 rebate.

"What this measure does is it reduces greenhouse gases it gives us a step across from the dirtiest fuel to the cleanest fuel and in between we get cleaner fuel vehicles, cleaner fuel vehicles and cleanest fuel vehicles," said Keeley.

"They’re pushing an unpopular alternative becasue that is the alternative that makes Mr. T. Boone Pickes richer," said Richard Holober from the Consumer Federation of California.

Holober is executive director of the Consumer federation of California , which runs the "No on 10" Web site.

Holober says though Proposition 10 calls for a $50,000 rebate for the purchase of a natural-gas powered big-rigs, there is no requirement that the old truck be destroyed, and no requirement the new truck stay in California. And Holober says the $5 billion is really $10 billion over the 30-year life of the bond.

"Let’s not be the suckers. Californians shouldn’t spend $10 billion to make Mr. Pickens richer and the air doesn’t get any cleaner," said Holober.

Holober says no major environmental groups have endorsed the measure.