A state appellate court October 21 agreed with the California Energy Commission and knocked out a Riverside County Superior Court order barring the agency from awarding $33 million in federal stimulus funds. The Energy Commission\u2019s petition to California\u2019s Fourth District Court of Appeals stressed urgent action was needed because of an October 21 federal funding disbursement deadline. The Energy Commission warned in an October 18 appeal that the state could lose the $33 million it had been awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy because of the temporary injunction. The commission \u201cis now free to execute a planned contract for the $33 million Energy Upgrade California Program, a comprehensive, statewide energy efficiency and renewable energy building improvement program,\u201d the Energy Commission stated after the appellate court lifted the restraining order on Thursday. The Western Riverside Council of Governments has until November 1, 2010, to oppose the Energy Commission\u2019s appellate petition. Calls to Steve DeBaun, the organization\u2019s counsel, were not returned before press time. The day before, the Energy Commission received other good news. DOE agreed to extend the disbursement time limit for the energy efficiency monies. However, it was unclear how long the federal agency would hold off. \u201cI\u2019m extremely grateful that the Department of Energy is giving us additional time to resolve this legal issue that is impeding our efforts to move these federal stimulus funds forward and launch a statewide energy efficiency program,\u201d Karen Douglas, Energy Commission chair, said October 20. At the end of last week, a lower court judge issued a temporary restraining order at the urging of the Western Riverside Council to halt the Energy Commission\u2019s issuance of $33 million in funding for energy efficiency programs. Earlier, the coalition of local governments requested $20 million of those federal stimulus funds in CEC hands to support the council\u2019s programs to finance home and small business efficiency and renewable retrofits, under what is known as the Property Assessed Clean Energy program. Its funding request was denied last February. The commission concluded the council of governments did not qualify because the solar energy retrofit component did not guarantee it would be tied to 10 percent energy savings, as required. The council appealed the commission\u2019s disqualification to the Department of General Services but it was rejected for being \u201cuntimely.\u201d The council sued in April. Regional Property Assessed Clean Energy programs proposed by the Riverside council and others involve upfront system financing in exchange for long-term property assessments and a senior lien program. These PACE programs, however, were seriously undermined by the federal housing mortgage entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are loaded down with \u201ctoxic\u201d mortgages. The PACE liens being at the front of the line in the event of a default threatened the federal agencies, which provide mortgages to about half of U.S. homes (Current, Sept. 3, 2010). In mid-August, the Energy Commission revised its Energy Program and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program to enable it to redirect the funds from PACE programs to other efficiency projects.