Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO who is now running as the Republican candidate for governor in California, says she doesn't want to roll back the state's landmark greenhouse gas emissions law.
She just wants to cut off its oxygen supply.
In a nuanced position, Whitman said that she opposes Proposition 23, a ballot proposition that would roll back AB 32 unless unemployment levels fall to a somewhat rare 5.5 percent or lower. AB 32 is the greenhouse gas law signed by sitting Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Nonetheless, Whitman added that she still wants to suspend AB 32 for a year.
"This is not an easy issue. While green jobs are an important and growing part of our state's economic future, we cannot forget the other 97% of jobs in key sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and energy. We compete for jobs with many other states, and our environmental policy must reflect that reality," she said.
So there's something for everyone here. She's no longer opposed to AB 32, but doesn't want to embrace it either. It's almost like shopping at eBay: everyone can find something they like.
Whitman has also promised during in her campaign -- which has consumed over $110 million of her own fortune -- that she will curb state spending.
Proposition 23 is heavily opposed by groups in Silicon Valley that point out that the green economy has been one of the few drivers in the state. Besides Arnold, George Schultz, the former Secretary of State under Reagan, opposes Prop 23. Polls show support for AB 32 among voters as well.
Schultz, though, saluted Whitman's move.
"We are pleased that Meg Whitman is joining our bipartisan effort to stand up to Texas oil companies and protect California's job-creating clean energy economy and clean air standards. She votes 'no' on 23," he said.
Much of the money for Prop 23 has come from out-of-state coal and oil interests.
Whitman has called AB 23 a job killer. That position has drawn rebuke from many in the high-tech sector, including eBay alum Steve Westly.
"Most of the people I know throughout Silicon Valley realize that to be a colossal mistake. This is the highest-growth job segment. This state's job engine for the future is in clean technology," Westly told us back in February.