Vote for the Environment: YES on 21, NO on 23

Heal the Bay is urging all California voters to take a stand on two initiatives on the November 2, 2010 ballot that have significant impacts on the ongoing environmental well-being of the state.

We urge a YES vote on Prop. 21 and a NO vote on Prop. 23.

Proposition 21 – Vote YES to Protect State Parks and Conserve Wildlife

We support Prop. 21., which will appear on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot. The measure provides a stable and adequate funding source to keep our 278 state parks and beaches open, and ensure they are properly maintained.

Prop. 21 will protect state parks and conserve wildlife by establishing a Trust Fund in the state treasury that could only be spent on state parks, urban river parkways, wildlife, natural lands and ocean conservation programs.

Funding will come from an $18 annual State Park Access Pass surcharge on all California vehicles, including motorcycles and recreational vehicles. Larger commercial vehicles, mobile homes and permanent trailers will be exempt. California vehicles will receive free, year-round, day-use admission to California’s state parks and beaches, in exchange for a new $18 annual fee that will support state parks and wildlife conservation

Chronic underfunding of state parks has caused them to accumulate a $1.3 billion backlog in needed maintenance and repairs. Twice in the past two years, state parks were on the brink of being shut down. Last year, nearly 150 state parks were shut down part-time or suffered deep service reductions because of budget cuts, and more park closure proposals and budget cuts are expected this year. Thousands of scenic acres are closed to the public because of reductions in park rangers.

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Proposition 23 – Vote NO and Keep CA Environment Laws in Place

Separately, Heal the Bay is concerned about the potential long-term impacts of Prop. 23, a measure that would “suspend” California’s air pollution and clean energy standards until the state economy improves and unemployment is lessened.

Four years ago, California passed a clean air law (AB 32) that holds polluters accountable and requires them to reduce air pollution that threatens human health and contributes to global climate change. This law has launched California to the forefront of the clean technology industry, sparking innovation and clean energy businesses that are creating hundreds of thousands of new California jobs.

The tragic oil spill in the Gulf—which has potentially harmed marine ecosystems for generations — reinforces the urgent need to reduce our dependence on costly, dangerous oil. But Prop. 23. backed by the oil industry, would allow polluters to avoid our state’s clean energy standards. It would kill competition and jobs from California’s clean technology companies, and keep us addicted to non-renewable sources of energy

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