Harris says Calif. AG opponent should oppose oil initiative

Jessica M. Karmasek Aug. 17, 2010, 11:53am


SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for California attorney general, is calling on her GOP opponent Steve Cooley to side against Texas oil companies.

Harris, in a statement released Monday, asked Cooley to officially take a stand against Proposition 23, the initiative meant to repeal the state's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

"Texas oil companies and other oil interests have spent nearly $6 million on a measure that would be an economic and environmental disaster for California. For months now, Steve Cooley has refused to denounce Prop 23, and instead says he would work to undermine California's landmark greenhouse gas laws as attorney general," Harris said in a statement.

"Our state deserves an attorney general who is on the side of our economy and the environment, and not Steve Cooley, who sides with out-of-state oil interests over Californians."

Harris called on every attorney general candidate, both Democratic and Republican, to officially oppose the initiative back in March.

According to Harris' campaign, Cooley has refused to join the opposition -- which includes Republican Gov. Schwarzenegger -- for nearly six months. Her campaign said he has repeatedly stated his openness to repealing Assembly Bill 32, the state's landmark greenhouse gases law, if he is elected attorney general.

Harris pointed to a recent public appearance at a Northern California Lincoln Club by Cooley. Cooley was asked to take a position on Prop 23.

"I have not taken a position yet. But with AB 32, I am more of a 'go slow' approach. I am very concerned by some of the actions by (current California Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate) Jerry Brown under Prop 32, some very aggressive actions. Some very large job-creating projects throughout the state were caught in this suit... local officials, some projects were dropped," he said at the Lincoln Club event.

He continued, "I want to review every one of those decisions (Brown's) made, see if his decisions were motivated by his gubernatorial aspirations or was he acting outside his appropriate jurisdiction."

Harris' campaign contends Cooley, the Los Angeles County District Attorney, has a "troubling record" when it comes to his handling of environmental crimes.

She points to Cooley's closing down of the environmental crimes division of the district attorney's office, leaving only one prosecutor assigned to handling such cases.

Meanwhile, Harris touted her creation of San Francisco's first ever Environmental Justice Unit. According to her campaign, Harris has prosecuted cases ranging from illegal dumping to air pollution crimes to illegal poaching.

Her campaign, in its statement Monday, also noted she was the first candidate for California's attorney general -- Democratic or Republican -- to publicly oppose the repeal of AB 32.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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