The mystery is over: The campaign to suspend California's landmark greenhouse-gas emissions law will be led by an out-of-state oil refinery company and a California taxpayer advocacy group, newly filed documents show.
Valero Energy Corp. and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association were listed as principal officers in organizational documents filed with the state Friday to raise funds to shelve Assembly Bill 32, passed several years ago.
A signature-gathering drive began last week to qualify for the November ballot an initiative to suspend AB 32, which requires California to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.
Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, and public relations officials hired to assist in the initiative campaign consistently have declined to confirm reports that two Texas-based oil companies, Valero and Tesoro Corp., are financing the effort.
Public records filed Friday removed some of the mystery, identifying officers of the fundraising committee as Scott Folwarkow, Valero's director of government affairs in California, and Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
The records did not identify donors, however, and Coupal declined to discuss details, including Tesoro's reported involvement, pending the filing of other disclosure documents.
"I'm not at liberty to say who's going to be part of it," he said. "There are going to be a lot of businesses, big and small, that are under the yoke of AB 32 regulations. We'll have a broad coalition."
Named the California Jobs Initiative Committee, the effort led by Coupal and Folwarkow described itself in Friday's documents as a "coalition of taxpayers, employers, food producers, energy, transportation and forestry companies." Names of participating firms were not listed.
Steve Maviglio, spokesman for a coalition fighting the initiative, contends that the reason for the signature-gathering drive's secrecy has been fear of a backlash if voters knew that out-of-state oil companies were bankrolling the drive.
Opponents of AB 32 contend it could hurt California's economy and hamper unemployment by costing businesses billions to implement. Supporters counter that the measure is vital to the environment and to attracting a wave of "green technology" firms to the state.
The initiative, if passed by voters, would suspend AB 32 until California's unemployment level drops to 5.5 percent for at least a year.