Meg Whitman and the Environment

Meg Whitman

I thought it would be useful to review the environmental positions of the key candidates in California.  My goal is to be informative rather than evaluative.  I’m beginning with Meg Whitman.

She’s not exactly “Ms. Environment.”  In an op. ed last year, Meg Whitman (the GOP gubernatorial candidate) called for a suspension of AB32, as Ann Carlson reported on this blog.  As a result, Schwarzenegger says he may not endorse her.  Whitman has been outspoken on the subject:

Within months, Sacramento will be handing down new rules to implement AB32, the far-reaching law to restrict greenhouse gas emissions. Signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, AB32 may have been well intentioned. But it is wrong for these challenging times.

With this ongoing economic crisis, the governor has the ability to issue an executive order putting a moratorium on most AB32-related rules. I urge him to do so. And if he does not, I will issue that order on my first day as governor.

In fact, the title of the op. ed was “To create jobs, curb environmental regulation.”  But her record isn’t monochromatic — she has also been attacked by conservatives for being too environmental and making major donations to EDF and conservation groups. And even in terms of AB32, her record is a bit blurry — she favors putting a hold on many AB32 rules but seemed leery of endorsing the anti-AB32 ballot measure.

Judging from her website, the environment is a topic she’d prefer to avoid.  It’s listed two levels down under “other priorities” and calls for balance between environmental goals and jobs.  She endorses the 33% RPF standard and opposes offshore oil.  Neither AB32 nor the term “climate change” appear on the website.  She’s clearly less environment-friendly than Schwarzenegger, but she doesn’t really seem to part of the die-hard anti-green wing of the party.  It will be very interesting to see how she positions herself during the campaign.

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About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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