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Mayor slams foes of energy proposition

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Newsom says ‘No on Prop. 87’ ads are ‘outrageous’ and misleading

Mayor Gavin Newsom blasted oil giants Monday for a "misleading" ad campaign against a November state ballot measure that would tax oil producers to raise money for the development of alternative energies.

Proposition 87 is being touted as a way to reduce petroleum consumption in California by 25 percent in the next decade. The proposed tax on oil produced in California would raise $400 million annually, which would finance the research and development of alternative energy sources.

Just weeks before the Nov. 7 election, the "Yes on Prop. 87" campaign, whose proponents include the American Lung Association of California and Senator Dianne Feinstein, announced Monday its new 30-second television ad featuring former Vice President Al Gore.

"Prop. 87 is the one thing Californians can do now to clean up the air, help stop the climate crisis and free us from foreign oil," Gore says in the ad.

The Yes on Prop. 87 campaign has raised $45 million to date, with $40 million contributed by Los Angeles-based movie producer Stephen Bing.

The "No on Prop. 87" campaign is largely funded by oil companies, including Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Nick DeLuca, spokesman for the No on Prop. 87 campaign, said if the measure passed, oil companies in California would decrease production and import more oil from overseas, which will cause gas prices to go up.

Newsom called the No on Prop. 87 rationale — which is being touted in ads sponsored by the Chevron Corporation — disingenuous.

"These misleading ads that suggest that gas prices are going to go up — it’s just outrageous," Newsom said.

DeLuca denied that the ads are misleading in any way.

"They are making record, historic profits, and they are not reinvesting that into a sustainable future," Newsom said.

DeLuca agreed that more could be done to advance alternative energies but said giving $4 billion to an entity that will "make up its own rules on how they spend it" does not make sense.

The measure could directly benefit San Francisco, according to Newsom.

"We’re trying to become a hub for the new economy. We actually created tax incentives to get green companies into San Francisco," he said.

Proposition 87 would fund "these new technologies and these new industries," and "I hope we can cluster those industries in San Francisco," Newsom said.

jsabatini@examiner.com