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Riggs Eckelberry: Stop Big Oil from killing cleantech -- oil spill environmental

posted Sep 12, 2013, 10:35 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 12, 2013, 10:55 AM ]

AS the Gulf oil spill continues to spread onto our shores causing untold damage, two Texas oil companies are spending millions on a ballot measure for November that will overturn California's clean energy and clean air standards.

That's quite ironic, because Big Oil itself knows that the days of petroleum are numbered. By the Petroleum Institute's own estimate, there are perhaps 20 more "good" years of supply. Two decades is not a long time for a trillion-dollar industry - and they know it.

That's why oil companies are heavy investors in the advanced biofuel, algae. This organism made petroleum in the first place, and now it stands to become the New Petroleum; the only biofuel able to realistically fuel our existing fleets or cars, trucks, airplanes and ships. Oil companies are moving fast to help this industry scale up as a beneficial source of clean energy.

Why then are they seeking to derail a law that will help accelerate the transition to this cleaner fuel? Simply put, the opposition by some oil operators to AB 32, our state's clean energy law, is nothing more than a delaying tactic to maximize their profits until we run out of oil.

Why should we oppose their ballot initiative? Because clean technology is California's newest boom industry, like the aerospace and high tech industries that literally built our modern state into the powerhouse that it is today.

AB 32 is creating the market certainty needed for investment, research and development of inventions like ours, as well as jobs. Since its passage, clean tech venture capital in California has skyrocketed, with investments of more than $6.5billion. As the economy slowed between 2007 and 2008, total employment fell by 1 percent, but clean tech jobs continued to grow 5 percent. That's something we need to reinforce, not cut back.

But if we suspend AB 32, as Big Oil wants, all of that potential will be put on hold. Why should we help Big Oil maximize profits? We don't charge them a dime for drilling in sometimes sensitive areas like the Santa Barbara Channel. And the heavy metals and pollution from petroleum create a toxic environment for us and our children.

We have to increase our support for clean energy, not cut it back. Because we can't just talk the talk; we have to walk the walk, too.

Imagine a state that promotes its clean tech industry to the rest of the world, but doesn't itself implement the most basic reforms to its own energy. What message does that send?

I love California, and we have great talent here. But until AB 32 is fully implemented, no one is purchasing the cleaner fuels here. As a result companies like mine, are doing research in state, but producing the fuels where consumers are located. My own company, OriginOil, has found its first major customer ... in Australia! So they get the jobs and the cleaner air. That sends a message.

Join me in strongly opposing the oil industry's efforts to overturn AB 32 in November. And make a new future for California and, someday, the world.

posted from :http://www.dailynews.com/opinion/20100701/riggs-eckelberry-stop-big-oil-from-killing-clean-tech