A bill that lacks content but could be used as a corollary to federal climate change legislation, passed the California\u2019s Senate Committee on Environmental Quality May 19. Part of the idea, according to environmentalists, is that if the U.S. Senate\u2019s climate change bill goes into effect, California should have a vehicle to funnel any federal funds available to reduce greenhouse gases. \u201cIt\u2019s an overall strategic plan,\u201d said Kip Lipper, consultant for Senator pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland), for the measure by Perata, AB 1760. The U.S. Senate legislation, authored by Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) gained traction this week in Congress, according to several sources. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the authoritative U.S. Senate & Natural Resources Committee, penned a memo late last week that noted the bill could have bipartisan support if proposed amendments are accepted . The state bill, according to Lipper, could also be used to guide the California Public Utilities Commission in the current tiff between legislators and regulators over the CPUC\u2019s decision to fund $600 million for a University of California institute on climate change. At this point, however, language for that direction is in its infancy. On April 10, state regulators said the location of the institute will be decided via a competitive bid process. It is expected to be governed by a 21-member board headed by the CPUC president and president of the U.C. system. Another commissioner is mandated to sit on the board, as are the California Environmental Protection Agency secretary and representatives from the investor-owned utilities--as well as stakeholders from other sectors. A subcommittee is set to be formed to develop technology transfer rights and protocols. The entity will also be subject to performance reviews and financial audits. Since April, several legislative committees have chastised the CPUC for that move. Some are worried about the ever-escalating cost to ratepayers. Others are concerned that regulators overstepped their authority. The CPUC responds that the state requires the investment to move to a less fossil-oriented energy future. Commission president Mike Peevey adds that it will be less expensive to the state in the long run to invest now. The bill passed but was sent to the Appropriations committee and is on hold.