In the fight over climate change (with one contingent fighting to stop it and another fighting to say it doesn’t exist, or isn’t man-made, etc.) the next battleground may be state governments.

Politico reports that state environmental legislation is coming under fire, and conservative groups and lobbyists hope to score big for their national cause by defeating state efforts to curb climate change through carbon caps and green energy.

In California, Texas oil giants Valero and Tesoro are spearheading a November ballot initiative to derail the Golden State’s landmark 2006 law capping its greenhouse gas emissions.

In New Jersey, conservatives are leaning on Republican Gov. Chris Christie to drop out of a 10-state regional cap-and-trade compact and show his true political stripes as he raises his national profile with an endorsement tour this fall.

Similar efforts could follow in other states, depending on how November gubernatorial races shake out.

California’s global warming law, which forces emissions across much of the economy to fall to 1990 levels by 2020, is the nation’s strongest and most sweeping policy to tackle global warming, absent federal policy. That, and the symbolism of reversing climate policy in a major liberal state, is why both sides of the Proposition 23 debate acknowledge the upcoming vote has larger implications.

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