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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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, Proposition 65
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
On 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

July 1 Deadline for General Industrial Stormwater Permits in California

Posted in California, Rulemakings, Water Law
Beginning July 1 of this year, there’s a new program in town!  A new general industrial stormwater permit kicks in in California. Companies with an existing stormwater permit will have to apply for a new permit, and prepare a new management plan—there is no grace period. Link to General Permit For Storm Water Discharges Associated… Continue Reading

California State Water Resources Control Board Finalizes Rules for Desalination Plants

Posted in California, Natural Resources, Rulemakings, Water Law
As the drought continues across California, the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) has adopted its first-ever requirements for desalination plants in the state. Desalination – a process of removing minerals from ocean water to produce fresh water for municipal uses – has not been widely used in California because it is expensive, energy-intensive, and… Continue Reading

California Governor Aims to Reduce Emissions 40 Percent Below 1990 Levels by 2030

Posted in California, Climate Change
In an Executive Order issued yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown set “a new interim statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 is established in order to ensure California meets its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by… Continue Reading

Long-Awaited California Residential Rate Design Reform Proposed at California Public Utilities Commission

Posted in California, Electric Power
On April 21, two Administrative Law Judges at the California Public Utilities Commission issued a long-anticipated proposed decision on residential rate design reform for the 3 large investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in California.  The long-term vision of the Proposed Decision is to prepare for widespread enrollment of residential customers in time-of-use (“TOU”) rate schedules with a… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court’s CEQA Ruling Reaches Beyond Residential Development

Posted in California, Environmental Quality, NEPA, Rulemakings
On Monday March 2, the California Supreme Court handed down a decision allowing a Berkeley home builder to use an exemption from detailed environmental assessment under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) in its proposed construction of a nearly 10,000 square foot residence in the Berkeley hills.  While the limited holding of the case relates… Continue Reading

Governor Jerry Brown Calls for 50% Renewables by 2030

Posted in California, Renewables
Yesterday during Governor Brown’s inaugural address for his 4th term, the Governor announced 3 ambitious carbon-reduction goals. Increase from 33% to 50% electricity derived from renewable sources; Reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50%; and Double the efficiency of existing buildings and making heating fuels cleaner. Stay tuned. This means lots… Continue Reading

Charging Forward: California PUC Expands Utility Role in EV Charging Infrastructure Deployment

Posted in California, Electric Power, Rulemakings
In a final decision determined on December 18th, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) overturned its blanket prohibition on utility ownership of electric vehicle (EV) service equipment (such as EV charging stations) and endorsed an expanded role for utilities in developing and supporting plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging infrastructure. The CPUC’s earlier July 2011 decision prohibited electric utilities… Continue Reading

OSHA Rules for Injury Reporting Change

Posted in California, Federal, Northwest, Rulemakings
Starting January 1, 2015, OSHA rules will require companies nation-wide to report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and eye losses within 24 hours.  Oregon is one of 6 states that already require employers to report single in-patient hospitalizations.  Previously, employers in most other states were only required to report in-patient hospitalizations if three or more… Continue Reading