Agency Split Leaves GHG Performance Standards on Hold

By Published On: January 22, 2007

Despite a warning from the office of state Senate president pro tem Don Perata (D-Oakland), and a time-out for stakeholder consensus, the California Energy Commission failed to formulate final greenhouse gas emissions performance standards in a January 18 workshop. The commission is supposed to enforce some of the details and protocols of last year’s greenhouse gas law, basically aimed at keeping coal power from being imported into the state. Given the commission’s history of power plant siting approval, that requirement posed a dilemma – with the California Public Utilities Commission wanting preapproval, and its sister agency, the CEC, aiming at approval after the fact. “Senator Perata and other senators are concerned about the Energy Commission’s approach to compliance. What the Energy Commission is proposing is different than the [California Public Utilities Commission] with respect to utilities entering into contracts with approval occurring after the fact,” Kip Lipper, Perata’s consultant, told the commission panel. Brian McLaughlin, representing the California Municipal Utilities Association, repeatedly asked for an explanation as to harm that may occur if contracts were approved but plants were not actually built. “We are hopeful that it will adopt regulations that take practicality into account,” added CMUA executive director Jerry Jordan. “It is clear that [SB] 1368 is meant to prevent investments in coal projects.” Stakeholder comments on the issue are restricted to the difference between the two commissions’ implementation of the greenhouse gas bill.

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