Allison Smith

Allison Smith

Allison Smith focuses her practice on the permitting and siting of geothermal, solar, wind, biomass and gas-fired energy facilities in California. Allison counsels public and private entities on compliance with The California Environmental Quality Act, the California Coastal Act, local land use regulations, and state and federal air pollution control laws. She also advises  electricity producers and importers on compliance with the California cap and trade program and mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting.

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California Extends Cap-and-Trade Through 2030

On July 25, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation extending the state’s cap-and-trade program through 2030. The signing ceremony for Assembly Bill (AB) 398 included former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the first state statute authorizing cap-and-trade in 2006, AB 32.  The ceremony cemented the deal that Governor Brown struck with California lawmakers, … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Denies Request to Review Cap-and-Trade Case

Yesterday the California Supreme Court denied a petition for review of the cap-and-trade lawsuits brought by a coalition of business interests, headed by the California Chamber of Commerce and Morning Star Packing Company. The Court of Appeal decision issued in April 2017, which upheld the legality of California’s cap-and-trade auctions in the related cases California Chamber … Continue Reading

California Agencies Hold En Banc on Retail and Customer Electricity Choice

On May 19, 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) held a joint en banc on customer and retail choice in California. In attendance were CPUC Commissioners Guzman Aceves, Randolph, Peterman, and President Picker.  CEC Commissioners McAllister, Douglas, and Chair Weisenmiller attended. The en banc was intended to address … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeals Upholds California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

On Thursday, a 2-1 decision by the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento upheld California’s program to reduce carbon emissions. California’s controversial and signature cap-and-trade program creates a firm limit on carbon emissions and auctions allowances that permit companies to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Covered entities are generally large emitters of greenhouse … Continue Reading

California Cap-and-Trade Lawsuit Hits Milestone with Oral Argument at the Court of Appeal

Yesterday, California’s Third District Court of Appeal heard oral argument in the related cases California Chamber of Commerce v. California Air Resources Board and Morning Star Packing Co. v. California Air Resources Board.  The three-justice panel actively questioned both sides as lawyers for the State, the Chamber, Morning Star, and Environmental Defense Fund made their arguments.  One … Continue Reading

California Continues Ambitious Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 32 into law, extending and expanding California’s 10-year old greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions mandate under Assembly Bill (AB) 32.  SB 32 provides for a 40% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2030.  This builds on AB 32’s existing mandate to reduce statewide emissions to … Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about the Proposed Revisions to California’s Cap and Trade Program

Late Tuesday, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released draft amendments to California’s cap and trade regulation, including revisions to the current program in place through 2020, an extension of the program through 2030, and setting the stage for continued emissions reductions under the program through 2050. ARB’s proposed amendments come in the middle of … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan Implementation: Next Steps

Ed. – originally authored by Kevin Johnson and Thomas Wood. The U.S. Supreme Court’s order on February 9, 2016 staying EPA’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) will create at least a year of uncertainty about the shape of the future electric power regulatory framework, with implications for states, utilities and other electric power … Continue Reading

California Legislative Session Wrap-up

Last Friday, September 11, 2015 was the final day for California legislators to pass bills out of the Legislature and on to Governor Jerry Brown for consideration. This year’s crop of bills included something for both sides of the aisle on energy and climate change issues: from the proposed repeal of AB 32, the California … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Announces New 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for California

This morning, California Governor Jerry Brown announced Executive Order B-30-15, setting a target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The 2030 target acts as an interim goal on the way to achieving reductions of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, a goal set by former … Continue Reading

California State Senators Announce Legislation To Support Clean Energy and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Yesterday, California legislators publicly announced a suite of bills to push forward the state’s ambitious clean energy and carbon reduction goals.  California Climate Leadership, a coalition of state senators, including Kevin De León, Ben Hueso, Mark Leno, Fran Pavley, and Bob Wieckowski, discussed the legislation at a press conference shown here.  SB 350, SB 185, … Continue Reading

Bill Targeting 50% RPS Introduced in California Legislature

In his inaugural address earlier this month, Governor Brown, referenced several ambitious goals he would like to see accomplished over the next 15 years, including  increasing from one-third to 50 percent the amount of California’s electricity that must be derived from renewable resources. On January 28, 2015, a legislator joined in this ambitious goal setting, … Continue Reading

California Governor Pledges 50% Renewable Energy by 2030

In November 2008, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-14-08, which set a 33 percent renewable portfolio standard for California by 2020.  On Tuesday, Jerry Brown was sworn in for a record fourth term as Governor of California and, during his inaugural speech, Governor Brown touched on California’s ambitious climate change policies, including a … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rolls Back EPA’s Regulation of Greenhouse Gases in Utility Air Regulatory Group Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a stunner with its decision this morning in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. The Supreme Court has curtailed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of stationary source greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under two Clean Air Act permitting programs – New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Landmark Case on Federal Greenhouse Gas Regulation

My colleague, Daniel Lee, followed oral argument yesterday in the U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of federal greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, and provides this analysis: During oral argument for Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA this Monday, the Supreme Court conflicted over a number of issues including the application of Chevron deference,  … Continue Reading

Nebraska Sues U.S. EPA Over Proposed Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for New Power Plants

Nebraska filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in federal court on Wednesday, challenging the agency’s newly proposed standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. Nebraska argues that EPA’s proposed regulation, officially released last week, violates the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Act prohibits EPA from considering new technology or a level … Continue Reading

California Public Utilities Commission Sets Agenda to Consider RPS Expansion

Assembly Bill (AB) 327 took effect in California at the first of the year, giving the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) authority to expand the State’s 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). This week, the CPUC extended its RPS proceeding to determine, before February 2015, how to implement the new law. AB 327 provides that the CPUC may … Continue Reading

1.3 GW California Energy Storage Procurement Mandate Approved

The California Public Utilities Commission has unanimously approved a 1,325 MW energy storage procurement target for the state’s largest utilities in Decision 13-10-040. PG&E, SDG&E, and SCE must collectively procure 1,325 MW of energy storage resources by 2020, for installation no later than 2024. The first of at least four competitive solicitations for energy storage projects will … Continue Reading

California Air Resources Board Issues Draft Update to AB 32 Scoping Plan

This week the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a draft of its AB 32 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update. The original Scoping Plan was adopted in 2008 and must be updated every five years. The Scoping Plan serves as a blueprint for achieving AB 32’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. … Continue Reading

Tentative Ruling Issued in California Cap and Trade Auction Lawsuit

A tentative ruling was issued yesterday in the related cases California Chamber of Commerce v. California Air Resources Board (ARB)  and  Morning Star Packing Co. v. ARB, pending before the Sacramento County Superior Court.  The cases challenge the legality of ARB’s cap and trade auctions under two theories:  (1) the cap and trade auctions exceed ARB’s authority … Continue Reading

President Obama Unveils Climate Action Plan

Today President Obama released his Climate Action Plan and highlighted the key components of the Plan at a speech at Georgetown University. The Plan has three primary goals: (i) cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S., (ii) preparing the United States for the effects of climate change, and (iii) leading international efforts to mitigate climate change. During … Continue Reading

Failed Solar Cell Could Be Hazardous to More Than the Owner’s Bottom Line

See my colleague Wayne Rosenbaum‘s recent post on the question of how failed solar panels could be treated under federal and California waste laws: Recently the New York Times published an article highlighting the high rate of solar panel failures well before their expected life times.  While the article focused on the question of product liability, … Continue Reading

CPUC Approves Standard Contract for New California Feed-In Tariff

The California Public Utilities Commission has adopted Decision 13-05-034, approving PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E’s joint standard contract for California’s expanded feed-in tariff (FiT) program. D.13-05-034 also revises several provisions of the FiT tariff and addresses two petitions to modify D.12-05-035, the Commission’s previous decision implementing the expanded FiT. The most recent legislation affecting the FiT, SB 1122 … Continue Reading
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