Skip to comments.Hollywood takes on the oilmen
Posted on 10/20/2006 4:04:22 PM PDT by MadIvan
Stars and politicians are battling big business in California's multi-million-dollar green crusade
IT IS a bitterly fought campaign that is pitting Hollywood against big oil; environmentalists against businessmen and millions of dollars against even more millions.
As Americans prepare to vote in congressional elections, the most expensive campaign battle is taking place in California. But the nearly $110 million (£58 million) spent to date is not about a seat in Congress. Its about oil.
California has long been a pioneer state for environmental issues, so it was little surprise that it should come up with Proposition 87 a tax on in-state oil production to raise billions to invest in the development of renewable energy technology. Anywhere else in the country, the oil companies might have been confident of crushing such a proposition. But California has something nowhere else has: Hollywood. And Hollywood has money.
Steve Bing, the movie producer best known in Britain for his caddish treatment of Elizabeth Hurley, when he denied paternity of her son, is the unlikely star of this show. As the oil companies geared up to fight the initiative which goes to the voters on November 7, the same day as midterm elections he stepped in on the side of the yes campaign with a record-breaking cash infusion of $40 million .
Since then the proposition has drawn an array of stars and showbiz-friendly political leaders to lend their star wattage to the yes campaign. Julia Roberts, for instance, visited asthma-ravaged children in hospital this week to highlight the terrors of air pollution produced by the states huge dependence on energy from oil.
The oil companies incentive for fighting the initiative is pure mathematics. Under Proposition 87, a tax of between 1.5 and 6 per cent would be levied on all oil produced in California, one of the top five oil-producing states in the union. The tax would continue until revenue reached $4 billion, to be invested in the development of clean energy technology. The more than $60 million that the companies have poured into their no campaign is money spent now to save a huge tax bill later.
Big oil claims that the proposition will raise gas prices at the pump unlikely, as the Bill forbids that; that oil companies would flee California for other states; and that California would end up more dependent on oil imports from the Middle East. It is an emotive argument, hitting hard at a national psyche traumatised by the experience in Iraq.
The yes campaign argues that only clean energy can save California from the spectre of foreign oil dependence: which, both sides hint, leads directly to a more dangerous and unstable world. Al Gore, the new darling of green Hollywood since the success of his global-warming movie An Inconvenient Truth has tapped into Mr Bings largesse to produce a campaign commercial in which he says: Here is the truth the oil companies wont tell you: half of the foreign oil theyre importing to California is from the Middle East. As a result, California is dangerously dependent on foreign oil.
All of which has left Californias voters terribly confused. As the spending and the bitterness have risen, interest in the initiative has fallen. Support for it now runs at 44 per cent down from 52 per cent in July. Voters dont even have their Governor to look to: Arnold Schwarzenegger, the greenest Republican in the land, has stayed silent on the initiative, caught between his progressive environmental policies and his own entrenched conservatism on matters fiscal.
Some wonder what the fuss is about: California is the only top oil-producing state in the country without such a tax. Alaskas runs at 15 per cent, Louisiana at 12.5 per cent and Texas at 4.6 per cent. But when the revenue is to be spent on green energy, that might threaten the future of oil instead of say, schools or healthcare, that, it seems, is when the gloves come off. And the stars and the cash come out.
Love the keywords! :)
This is purely madness. The kiss of death for this initiative has occured however. Klinton has come out in support of it.
There needs to be a tax on the plastic stuff they use to print films onto, The movie isdustry must use thousands of miles of the stuff. All of it has to have a petroleum component. To the extent that the film industry is reliant on petroleum, a tax of $1 per hundred feet of film needs to be assessed to offset the mess made while manufacturing that otherwise useless product.
***There needs to be a tax on the plastic stuff they use to print films onto,***
If they taxed silicone the rest of us wouldn't have to pay taxes.
Correction : Hollywood and Silicon Valley takes on the oilmen.
One of the guys pushing this madness is one of the founders of Sun Microsystems. And a number of his venture capital buds are in on it. Who ever said business men cannot also be Leftist moonbats? Quite frankly, I am surrounded by them!
I think a more appropriate headline would have been: Rich, lazy, limousine Leftists take on the capitalists that make America work. Yeah. I like that.
Julia Roberts? Is she still alive?
What about rising movie ticket prices and the rising incomes of movie stars? Can a single mom with three kids afford to take her kids to a movie? All these people can do is buy DVDs from independent undocumented movie distributors who cut out the excess profits of movie studios. We are not going to cut out these so-called bootleggers, (punishment is not a deterrent) however we can protect the environment by making sure that these copies are recycled many times.
I'm gonna hurl.
Thank god oil prices are tumbling like a stone, way down in the mid-fifties now and continuing to fall. OPEC is panicking right now. Hugo is hysterical. By the time this crud movie hits the big screen, oil ought to be $10 a barrel, which will really make these idiots look like fools - and hit them in their pocketbooks.
Ivan - you know what is really disgusting about this? They ought to be making the oil men into heroes. The go out to the world's most hostile climates and make deals with the world's crummiest dictators, having to balance all that. Then they go out to the deep sea in space-ship-like seacrafts with controls in Houston, same as the space program and drill literally five or ten miles under the sea floor, retrieving oil no one ever thought possible, even five years before. In short, those guys are heros and their great, literally pioneering work against all odds - freak dictators, dangerous climate, limits of science, bona fide danger and risk - and they win and succeed! It just amazes me that Hollywood does not see the dramatic potential in the heroic work of oil men. Instead, they wanna make crummy lawyers and wretched leftist housewives who voted for Clinton into their heros.
This is gonna go down like a bomb. And they could have done something so good.
As that gas comes to them from Alberta, it is driving up my heating costs as Ontario also gets its gas from Alberta.
For comparison, Ontario gets 51 percent of its electricity using CANDU low temperature unenriched uranium reactors, 19 percent using coal, 23 percent using renewables (mostly hydro with a tiny percentage of wind), 19 percent using coal an 7 percent using gas.
When the current McGuinty Liberal government took over, it ordered the shutdown of all coal plants by 2009 pursuant to an election promise. He was forced to cancel this order because even sweetheart deals with consortiums (including California based Calpine Corp.) would not have produced enough gas powered generating capacity to replace the coal stations' output.
The current plan is to work toward changing the mix to 50 percent nuclear, 43 percent renewables, 6 percent gas and 1 percent gasification.
There has been a cultural change recently that is more accepting of nuclear power so stations will be built or rebuilt to maintain nuke's percentage in the supply of Ontario's increasing demand. Nuke stations are more expensive to bring on line than gas.
Y'know, I am really hating Hollywood types right now.
We all understand...drilling should only occur in a poor man's backyard...not in Hollywood....
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