Californians for Clean Air

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"When the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and other consumer organizations placed Proposition 9 on the November, 1998, ballot in California, the state's three private utility companies -- Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric -- panicked.


"A key focus of the utilities was the environmental movement, now composed of a vast spectrum of non-profit organizations. In addition to recognized and highly respected groups like the Sierra Club, which supported Prop. 9, other organizations formed in recent years are far more amenable to compromise and even collaboration with industrial polluters, among them the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The latter two groups joined with utility executives to urge voters to defeat Prop.9.

"But the dirtiest work of all was undertaken by a relatively unknown California environmental group known as the "Planning and Conservation League" (PCL) based in Sacramento, California.

"PCL's Board of Directors held a meeting in June, 1998, purporting to decide whether to support or oppose Prop. 9. But, apparently unbeknownst to its own board members, the organization's director, Gerald Meral, had already made a deal with the utility companies.

"The group received $30,000 from Edison, $30,000 from Pacific Gas & Electric, $10,000 from San Diego Gas & Electric, as well as $265,000 from Thermo Ecotek Corporation, a power company, according to state campaign reports.

"The money was given between April 8 and April 27 to a campaign committee controlled by the Planning and Conservation League, called "Californians for Clean Air," a political committee created and controlled by Meral's group to promote a ballot initiative (Prop. 7) which would extend tax breaks to corporations which pollute the environment. " [1]

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