OAKLAND, CA -- With polling indicating that minority voters may be the key element in the fate of Proposition 23, a historic Coalition has come together to challenge the Texas oil companies´ assault on California´s clean-energy law. Communities United Against the Dirty Energy Prop, a coalition of many of the state´s most prominent social justice and community-based organizations, will focus on the communities that are at greatest risk should Prop. 23 pass. Communities United is operating separately but in coordination with No on 23: Californians to Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition.
"Proposition 23 will hurt low-income communities and people of color first and worst," said Communities United campaign manager Ian Kim of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. "This Dirty Energy Proposition will make air pollution worse and jobs more scarce, especially in communities already burdened by too much pollution and poverty."
Prop 23 is almost exclusively funded by Texas oil interests and other oil companies. Two of the primary funders – Valero and Tesoro – are among the nation´s worst toxic polluters. The refineries these two companies run in California are listed among the top ten polluters in our state.
Communities United released a four-page report, "Toxic Twins: Soiling the Southland" detailing recent environmental violations and fines assessed against Valero and Tesoro refineries in the city of Wilmington, CA.
"Low-income communities are facing epidemics of asthma and lung disease due to air pollution, and Prop. 23 will keep it that way," said Strela Cervas, co-coordinator of the California Environmental Justice Alliance. "Contrary to the lies being peddled by the oil companies, Prop. 23 would kill jobs, not save them."
A poll last month by the Public Policy Institute of California found that ethnic state residents were more likely than whites to be concerned about climate change and more likely to see air pollution as a problem.
Communities United is mounting an aggressive, grassroots campaign statewide to educate voters of color about the Dirty Energy Prop. A series of announcements are expected in the coming weeks, including statewide days of action, the naming of the campaign´s co-chairs and The Clean Energy Tour, a statewide music tour bringing together the arts, activism and education on college campuses to mobilize the youth vote.