After a 10-month hiatus since its last public workshop on the issue, the California Energy Commission this week rekindled a proposed rulemaking on greenhouse gas emission performance standards for out-of-state coal power plants owned by California public utilities. During a Jan. 29 workshop attended by representatives from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, other public agencies, and the Sierra Club, parties hashed out possible changes to the commission\u2019s greenhouse gas standards in the California Code of Regulations. The emission performance standards, adopted in 2007, were revisited in January 2012, when the Energy Commission adopted an order to initiate a rulemaking to consider possible modifications. That move included establishing a filing requirement for all publicly owned utility investments in non-compliant facilities. The standards are intended to implement state law SB 1368. That statute requires California utilities to end their interests in out-of-state coal plants once their ownership contracts expire. The law calls for utilities not to make any life-extending investments in the plants in the interim. Environmentalists complained to the Energy Commission that its rules might not always be preventing such investments and asked for the agency to revise its standards. Key aims were to revise the rules to clarify what constitutes a life-extending investment and to make sure that pending decisions on investments were easy to find out about. Prior to this week, a workshop on the rulemaking was last conducted in April 2012. Possibilities for publicly owned utilities discussed included an option that would entail munis providing a URL link to the agenda for any public meeting at which any investment in a non-compliant plant is to be deliberated. The URL would have to be provided no later than three days prior to the meeting and would be posted on the Energy Commission\u2019s website. This option would not require the Energy Commission to post back-up information on its website, nor would it distribute the URL and back-up information to a listserv. Another option is expanding the existing public notice requirements for covered procurements in the regulations to include \u201cmajor\u201d investments or \u201cinvestments to meet environmental or other regulatory requirements.\u201d This would require a publicly owned utility--at least three days before any public meeting at which investments are to be deliberated--to provide a URL that links to the agenda of the meeting and the back-up information related to the investments\u2019 compliance with the standard. The Energy Commission would be required to post the URL and back-up information on the CEC website and notify the listserv. The definition of two terms used in the option, however, was a point of contention during the workshop. \u201cI do believe we will have significant obstacles to overcome if we are going to use the terms \u2018major\u2019 and \u2018investment\u2019 in the regulation,\u201d Northern California Power Agency attorney Susie Berlin said. \u201cI think it\u2019s problematic to define them; a dollar amount does not provide a simple solution. Both the terms \u2018major\u2019 and \u2018investment\u2019 are relative and subjective.\u201d Option three would require public agencies to provide an annual filing that prospectively identifies major investments in non-compliant facilities and\/or \u201cinvestments to meet environmental or other regulatory requirements,\u201d for the upcoming year. The filing would contain a description of the investment and what it\u2019s intended to do, the costs, and an indication of when a decision to move forward is expected. The annual filing would supplement the existing filing requirement under state regulations. Option four entails providing an annual filing--similar to what the CPUC requires of investor owned utilities--that contains a description of the investment, what it was intended to do and the costs, along with an attestation that the financial commitments entered into during the prior calendar year are in compliance with the standard. The investments reported to the Energy Commission could be defined as a covered procurement or could also include \u201cmajor \u201cinvestments or investments to meet environmental or other regulatory requirements.\u201d The annual filing would replace the existing filing requirement. \u201cI don\u2019t think these issues are easily pigeonholed,\u201d Berlin said. The workshop, held mainly to gather input, did not result in a specific policy or direction.