Though we maintained optimism until the end that we may qualify our initiative for the November ballot, and while our hopes were bolstered by a recent influx of signatures due to publicity surrounding the anniversary of Fukushima as well as the recent closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, on April 16th we reached the end of our circulation period and have fallen considerably short of the over 800,000 signatures we had originally hoped for.
Since the beginning we recognized that this would be an uphill battle. We were also aware that the false and misleading claims made by California’s Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) —claims that were required by law to be printed on the Initiative—of tens of billions of dollars per year in added costs to the state as a result of rolling blackouts due to the closure of these plants would make it very difficult to garner the grassroots support necessary to effectively move forward with a signature drive of this magnitude. Literally every major anti-nuclear organization in California and the U.S. opted out of supporting us as a result of the LAO analysis.
Fortuitously, the recent closure of San Onofre has proven the rolling blackout myth false, along with the outlandish claims of astronomical financial impacts to the state, effectively validating what we have said since the very beginning. Though these revelations occurred too late to undo the damage caused by the LAO analysis, they have breathed new life and new opportunity into our efforts to shutter these plants.
There is still a chance, through court action, that this issue could be placed on the November ballot. There are also many organizations that initially turned away from us that are now reevaluating the possibility of directing their resources towards the closure of California’s nuclear plants in the near future. Our campaign has helped educate the public and provide the foundation necessary to proceed with these efforts.
Thank you to all of our volunteers for their time and effort in gathering signatures. Your efforts have helped propel this crucial issue forward and will not have been made in vain.Ben Davis Jr., Initiative Proponent Donna Gilmore, Initiative Coordinator California Nuclear Initiative