Regulatory Policy

Referendum Politics: California’s Pioneering Plastic Bag Ban on Hold

Plastic bag ban

Out-of-State Bag Manufacturers Succeed in Qualifying Referendum Measure for 2016 Ballot

California’s recently-legislated ban on disposable plastic bans–the first in the nation–will not take effect on July 1, 2015 as the new law mandates.  That’s because industry opponents of the legislation have  qualified for the November 2016 election a referendum measure that seeks to repeal the new law. Last fall I wrote on this site about […]

Continue Reading

Accelerating Cost-Effective Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Learning from Local Implementation

bike lane bioretention

A new Berkeley Law report

California decision makers focused on responding to the current drought might question whether stormwater deserves a slice of their attention right now. Although it might be tempting to relegate stormwater planning, management decisions, and infrastructure improvements to a back burner until drought concerns cool off, doing so would be counterproductive. Below, I explain why stormwater management is relevant […]

Continue Reading

Clean Energy Data Legislative Briefing In Sacramento

Knowledge Is Power Cover

Lunch event will be held on Tuesday, February 24th

UC Berkeley and UCLA Schools of Law will be hosting a free legislative lunch briefing next Tuesday on expanding access in California to clean energy data, the subject of the Knowledge is Power report that the law schools released last month.  The energy data could include improved customer access to long-term usage patterns, utility statistics […]

Continue Reading

The Dietary Supplement Scandal

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS PIC

There are 65,000 dietary supplements on the market, and almost half the population uses at least one of them. Americans spent $13 billion on dietary supplements last year, according to the Washington Post.  There are disturbing indications that nearly all  that money is wasted — or to put it more bluntly, that the industry is essentially […]

Continue Reading

Celebrating Four Decades of Energy Innovation: The California Energy Commission at 40

How California & the Commission Launched Their Acclaimed Energy Policy--& the Challenges That Lie Ahead

This month marks the 40th anniversary of California’s landmark Warren-Alquist Act, which created the state Energy Commission and triggered a transformation of energy policy in California, across the U.S., and abroad. This week an impressive group of energy policymakers, political leaders, energy scholars and Energy Commission alumni gathered at events in Sacramento and at the U.C. Davis […]

Continue Reading

California’s Water Law Symposium–A Law Student Success Story

Students From Six Northern California Law Schools Collaborate in a Big and Unconventional Way

The 11th Annual Water Law Symposium was held last weekend at Golden Gate University Law School in San Francisco.  The event drew a standing-room-only crowd of water law scholars, practitioners and policymakers, who devoted the day to a thoughtful and lively examination of how California’s constitutional law doctrine of reasonable use affects all facets of […]

Continue Reading

Solar Tariff Wars Heat Up

commercial-solar-panels1

States that have helped boost rooftop solar installations through so-called net metering policies are beginning to scale back their subsidies under pressure from utilities.   As ClimateWire reported today (here’s the link but it’s behind a paid subscription wall), Hawaii’s largest utility has just proposed rolling back the state’s net metering policy, joining Arizona, California, […]

Continue Reading

Zero Trash

Los Angeles River (LA Times)

Using the Clean Water Act to Control Marine Debris in California

This post is cross-posted on EcoPerspectives, the environmental law and policy blog of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. Let’s talk trash. Human-generated stuff that ends up in the ocean, termed “marine debris” or “marine trash,” presents a critical ocean and coastal management challenge. Trash can be found on coastlines and in seawater worldwide, from […]

Continue Reading

Food: Too Much and Too Little

Actual malnutrition among American children (weight more than two standard deviations below normal) is rare in the U.S. Most of the estimates that I found range around 1%. Still, there are roughly 45 million children under 12 in the U.S., so 1% amounts to almost half a million children. Malnutrition seems considerably more common among […]

Continue Reading

How to Erode Public Confidence in Regulatory Decisions: Meet With Parties Behind Closed Doors

scales of justice

A scandal at the California Public Utilities Commissions brings a questionable practice to light.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has an unusual way of doing business. Most state and federal regulatory agencies prohibit private, closed-door discussions with interested parties about contested matters (ex parte communications). Even though it makes decisions affecting the welfare of Californians and the disposition of billions of dollars, the CPUC does not discourage ex […]

Continue Reading