CA Exodus from Federal Advisory Roles

6 Sep 2017

California is steadily losing its voice when it comes to federal energy and environmental policy as the Trump Administration either alienates or removes Californians from various advisory committees and delegations in Washington.

In the latest move, The Trump Administration notified Carl Zichella Sept. 1 that he would not be reappointed to the Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee. Zichella had served on the panel since 2014, most recently as vice chair.

The committee advises the federal agency on a wide array of issues related to the nation’s power industry.

Zichella, who is director of western transmission for the Natural Resources Defense Council in California, noted that the committee under former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz worked on grid modernization issues, including how to take advantage of emerging energy storage technologies to support clean energy.

In a Facebook post, Zichella said he noted “with some sadness that it appears all our reports for the last five years or so have been deleted from the DOE Electricity Advisory Committee’s main web page.”

Earlier this summer, Dan Kammen, a University of California professor and chair of the Energy & Resources Group, resigned as a State Department science envoy in disgust about President Donald Trump’s statements on the neo-Nazi marches in Charlottesville, Virginia. Kammen had worked with the State Department to create partnerships in Africa and the Middle East on clean energy and environmental sustainability.

Now, the Trump Administration’s action on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program may raise credibility problems for members of an EPA advisory panel on environmental justice, which has several representatives from California.

At issue, according to a source, is whether members can continue to serve on the panel and have the trust of the California residents they work with, many of whom are Latino immigrants. The panel includes representatives from state government, a major utility, and non-governmental organizations in California.

—William J. Kelly


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