Although standing by its recommendation to consolidate energy agencies under a new department of infrastructure, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger?s California Performance Review Commission adopted a watered-down set of recommendations for restructuring state government on October 20. In a draft report issued last summer, 1,200 recommendations were outlined for streamlining and restructuring government. Most of the initial proposals were quickly dropped. ?We probably heard just 300,? said panel member Beverly O?Neill, mayor of Long Beach. The 21-member commission stood by its initial plan to create a state Infrastructure Department, which would cover energy, water, and transportation. It would be under the control of the governor?s office. The chief function of the department would be to plan, finance, and streamline permitting of major infrastructure projects in the state, which the commission says are executed through a fragmented government system. A new undersecretary of energy would head up functions handled by the California Energy Commission, the Electricity Oversight Board, the Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority, the Department of Water Resources, the Department of Conservation, and the State Lands Commission. In addition, the energy division of the new department would inherit the authority and staff to approve sites for power generation and transmission facilities. ?With the state?s need for adequate supply and reasonable prices, the state must streamline its process to facilitate investment in energy infrastructure and provide clear direction as to who has the authority to site new facilities,? the panel said in its final report to the governor. However, the panel emphasized that its recommendations on restructuring state government have a long road ahead before they become reality. ?It?s not going to be done without legislative approval,? said Senator Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego). Even if the Infrastructure Department is created, it remains to be seen how much easier it would be to site new energy facilities. In final action, the commission declined to recommend elimination of a number of boards, commissions, and departments that it initially targeted when it began working early this year. For instance, it backed off from its plan to recommend eliminating the California Air Resources Board and the regional water-quality control boards. Those boards may weigh in on siting plans. The commission steered away from the image of trying to privatize what?s now done under governmental oversight. Panel member J.J. Jelincic, president of the California State Employees Association, suggested that members of the commission?widely viewed by unions as privatization cheerleaders?disclose their financial interests before acting on the body?s recommendations. His motion, however, failed to be seconded and was dropped.