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Calif. anti-climate campaign got virtually all its money from three oil companies

By Associated Press
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 21:05 EDT
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With major contributions from the oil industry, supporters of a ballot initiative to suspend California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law reported a fundraising tally Tuesday of more than $5.2 million in the past three months.

The numbers disclosed by the Yes on 23 campaign revealed the continued backing of three out-of-state oil companies — Valero Corp. and Tesoro Corp. of Texas, and Flint Hills Resources, a Wichita, Kan.-based company owned by Koch Industries.

The companies contributed a combined $5 million during the period ending Sept. 30.

In all, the campaign has raised $8.3 million during the first nine months of the year and has $3.1 million remaining cash on hand.

Opponents of the initiative said they expected the petroleum industry to keep pouring money into Proposition 23 before the Nov. 2 vote.

The initiative would indefinitely suspend AB32, California’s 2006 law mandating significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

“We fully expect them to drop nuclear bombs in the coming weeks,” Steven Maviglio, a spokesman for the No on 23 campaign, said of the oil companies. “It’s going to be David versus Goliath at the end.”

Anita Mangels, a spokeswoman for the Yes on 23 campaign, called Maviglio’s prediction nonsense and said opponents were trying to “villainize supporters instead of focusing on what the initiative will and will not do.”

She said it would result in a temporary suspension that would save California jobs and protect small businesses.

Opponents of Proposition 23 had not yet filed their disclosure statements. As of Sept. 20, they had raised about $9.7 million, with significant backing from wealthy environmental groups and Northern California investors.

Two recent polls paint an unclear picture of Proposition 23 prospects among California voters. A Field Poll released Sept. 26 found 45 percent of likely voters opposed the measure, while 34 percent supported it.

A Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll released the previous week showed 40 percent of voters favoring the measure and 38 percent opposing it — a statistical tie. One in five people surveyed said they had not yet taken a position on the initiative.

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