Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

Category Archives: California

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Change is Coming for CPUC Procedures

Posted in California
Spring cleaning has come to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as it sets on a path to overhaul its Rules of Practice and Procedure. On May 4, 2017, Administrative Law Judge Wildgrube issued Draft Resolution ALJ-344 with the purpose of implementing statutory amendments pursuant to SB 215, reflecting changes in the CPUC’s administration, streamlining… Continue Reading

PG&E Narrows Scope of the CPUC Proceeding to Shut Down the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant by Unilaterally Withdrawing Its Procurement and Cost Allocation Requests

Posted in California
On February 27, 2017, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PG&E”) announced it is withdrawing several portions of its plan to close its 2.3 gigawatt Diablo Canyon Power Plant near San Luis Obispo by 2025. Specifically, PG&E has withdrawn its requests that the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) authorize PG&E to replace Diablo’s generation capacity with… Continue Reading

Proposed California Bill to Cap Coal-Generated Electricity and Eliminate Coal-Dependency by 2026

Posted in California
On January 4, 2017, at the start of this year’s legislative session, Assemblymember Marc Levine of Marin County introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 79, which is intended to cap the amount of coal-generated electricity used in California. Under the current version of AB 79, a maximum of 6 percent of electricity consumed in California could be… Continue Reading

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s Environmental Partners to Discuss the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act During American Bar Association Webinar 10.20.16

Posted in California, Environmental Quality
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP partners Kerry Shea and Larry Burke to join the American Bar Association webinar on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, along with Hope Schmeltzer, Assistant Regional Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Thomas Fusillo, Managing Principal at Ramboll Environ. This webinar will address the management of hazardous waste, solid… Continue Reading

California’s New Climate Change Law Tempered by Uncertainty About Its Cap and Trade Program

Posted in California, Cap and Trade, Climate Change
California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 32 last week codifying into law his office’s emission reduction goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below the 1990 level by 2030. By signing this bill, Governor Brown made his prior Executive Order B-30-15 part of California’s overall climate change law by adding a new section… Continue Reading

CPUC Hosts Workshop for New Safety Intervenor

Posted in California, Electric Power, Federal, Rulemakings
Earlier in 2016, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) received approval from the Legislature to establish its own Office of Safety Advocates (OSA) as an effort to expand the participation of safety related intervenors in relevant CPUC proceedings.  This month, the CPUC is hosting a workshop to: (i) allow stakeholders to brainstorm an effective way… Continue Reading

CPUC Cracks Down on Secrecy of Utility Data

Posted in California, Electric Power, Federal, Rulemakings
For California utilities, ensuring their information stays confidential just got harder. On August 25, 2016, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a decision updating the process for submitting potentially confidential documents to the Commission. The Commission intended for this process to ensure consistency across industries and to expedite Commission review of California Public Records Act… Continue Reading

“The War Is Over”: Assemblymember Gatto Introduces Bill to Memorialize CPUC Reform Package

Posted in California, Renewables
At an August 11th conference organized by the Advanced Energy Economy, Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), Chair of the Utilities and Commerce Committee, and California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) President Michael Picker participated in a panel discussion on CPUC reform efforts. Gatto declared that “the war is over,” referencing the sparring between the Legislature and… Continue Reading

State Water Board Cleans Up Its Water Quality Enforcement Policy

Posted in California, Rulemakings, Water Law
 On August 4, 2016, the California State Water Resources Board (State Water Board) issued a draft rule amending its 2010 Water Quality Enforcement Policy. The proposed amendments are intended to provide additional clarity, allow disadvantaged communities to receive assistance with compliance matters akin to that provided under the current policy to facilities serving small communities,… Continue Reading

CARB Proposed Amendments to Extend the Cap-and-Trade Program Beyond 2020 Overshadow Significant Revisions to the Program Itself

Posted in California, Cap and Trade, Rulemakings
On August 2nd, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) formally released its Proposed Amendments to the California Cap-and-Trade Program.  CARB’s proposed amendments are meant to extend the program through 2030 and ensure continued emissions reductions through 2050.  Notably, the amendments are also intended to broaden the program through linkage with the Ontario program beginning in… Continue Reading

BPA in Plastics Requires a Prop 65 Warning — For Food Containers, California Imposes a Generic Point-of-Sale Warning

Posted in California, Health and Safety
Last year the State of California added Bisphenol A (BPA) to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm under Prop 65 [the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986], a law which requires warnings for such exposures in California. The warning requirement kicked in a year later – May… Continue Reading

CPUC Implementation of the Renewables Portfolio Standard Beyond 2020 Begins

Posted in California, Renewables
– a dispatch from  California Energy attorney Vid Prabhakaran – The California Public Utilities Commission is revving itself up to take on the task of putting together a whole new set of procurement requirements to implement the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS)-related provisions of Senate Bill (SB) 350. As described in an earlier blog entry, SB… Continue Reading

When is a reward a bribe? OSHA policy limits workplace safety incentive programs

Posted in California, Federal, Health and Safety, Northwest
Years ago, my employer gave employees a coaster every quarter that the group had no OSHA reportable incidents. Now it would have been in violation to have such a program. Despite criticism from workers compensation carriers who recognize the benefits of incentive programs, OSHA has reiterated its policy and it continues to enforce against companies… Continue Reading

Reforms to Exit Fees for Departing Load Customers May Be On the California Horizon

Posted in California, Electric Power
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) signaled this month that the topic of exit fee reform for departing load customers may be back on the Commission’s agenda.  A significant public outcry arose late last year when Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) aimed to significantly increase its exit fees to such a level that much… Continue Reading

California Electric Vehicle Chargers Could Soon Qualify as Eligible Energy Storage Technology

Posted in California, Electric Power, Renewables
Later this year, the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) intends to issue a proposed decision addressing whether one-way managed or controlled charging of electric vehicles (often referred to as “V1G”) will be eligible for future energy storage solicitations.  Parties to the energy storage proceeding will have at least one more opportunity to convince the CPUC… Continue Reading

CPUC Takes First Step Towards Developing Integrated Energy Resource Plan

Posted in California, Renewables
Senate Bill (“SB”) 350, which the California legislature passed in 2015, sets ambitious goals for the state, including a 50% renewables portfolio standard and a doubling of energy efficiency by 2030.  To help encourage a coordinated approach to meeting these goals, SB 350 mandates that the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) examine the future of… Continue Reading

Distributed Energy Resources – California Caught In Its Own Regulatory Web

Posted in California, Rulemakings
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has spent a great deal of time and effort to reach the very broad, generic, and long-term goal to: deploy distributed energy resources that provide optimal customer and grid benefits, while enabling California to reach its climate objectives. In fact, it took the CPUC nearly a full year to… Continue Reading

Dumpster Dives, Investigations and Penalties

Posted in California, Sustainability
What you put in the trash can cost you a fortune. Regulators are increasingly interested in companies’ disposal practices and are initiating investigations and enforcement actions. The “dumpster dives” form the basis of a steady stream of income for the State of California and various District Attorneys. Today, the California Attorney General and Alameda District… Continue Reading

Senate Bill 350 Calls for Higher Renewables Portfolio Standard, Higher Energy Efficiency Targets, an Expanded System Operator, but No Petroleum Reduction Targets

Posted in California, Climate Change, Renewables
As most of you know by now, Senate Bill (“SB”) 350, the much-chronicled and debated Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, passed out of the California Legislature and is currently awaiting signature by Governor Brown.  The bill currently includes the following significant changes to California’s energy and climate goals:… Continue Reading

California PUC Set to Address Handling of Confidential Records

Posted in California
confidentialOn August 14, 2015 California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Rafael Lirag extended the deadline for public comment in the CPUC Confidentiality/Public Records Act rulemaking proceeding. This proceeding will have a major impact on record submitters (utilities), public advocates, and news agencies alike by dictating how, and which, documents will remain confidential… Continue Reading

Joint Agency Symposium Discusses Role of Electricity Sector in California’s 2030 GHG Reduction Goals

Posted in California, Climate Change, Electric Power
Last week, several state agencies and the California Independent System Operator held a symposium on ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity generation while maintaining an affordable and reliable electricity system. This multi-agency symposium is part of a series of public forums soliciting stakeholder input on 5 key climate change strategy pillars to… Continue Reading