Environmental Ballot Initiatives to Watch

"Virtually the entire environmental movement opposes [it]," said Ralph Cavanaugh, a senior attorney with the Natural Resource Defense Council. "We're opposed to it because it would slow renewable energy development in California."

"People without a background in renewable energy hired folks. Assuming you see a 'no' vote on Proposition 7, that will be a victory for renewable energy."

California's three largest investor-owned utilities or their parent companies also oppose the initiative.

On Friday, The Associated Press reported that the latest Field Poll found that 39 percent of likely California voters support the proposition and 43 percent oppose.

California: Proposition 10

Known as the California Alternative Fuels Initiative, Proposition 10 is another proposal that is drawing the ire of state environmentalists.

Promoted heavily by oil and gas tycoon T. Boone Pickens to the tune of millions of dollars, the initiative provides $3.425 billion to help Californians purchase certain high-fuel economy or alternative-fuel vehicles, including natural-gas vehicles, and to fund research into alternative-fuel technology. It also provides $1.25 billion for research, development and production of renewable energy technology, as well as purchasing incentives.

Cavanaugh of the Natural Resource Defense Council argues that, similar to Proposition 7, this initiative is an "import" from outside the environmental community. Although he agrees with the focus of reducing oil dependence, he said that it inappropriately emphasizes natural-gas vehicles, when he and his coalition support a broader-based solution.

Many critics of the proposition have noted Pickens' financial interest in supporting natural gas vehicles.

In fighting to defeat the measure, the Natural Resource Defense Council is joined by the Consumer Federation of California, the League of Conservation Voters in California and the Sierra Club.

Supporters of the proposition include the mayors of Oakland, Irvine and Santa Ana, as well as other elected officials.

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