The State Legislature has proposed amendments to Senate Bill SB 14 and AB 64 that would allow Hydropower to be imported from out-of-state sources (including Canada and Mexico), as well as change the mega-wattage RPS qualifications for existing Hydropower in both California and out-of-state sources from 30mw to 50mw. Under existing conditions, California utilities are required to derive 20% of their power from renewable energy sources (Wind, Solar, and Hydro at 30mw or less). Changing the mega-wattage standard wouldn’t create any new sources of renewable energy; it would only rearrange power qualifications, as well as incentivize Hydropower plants no matter how inefficient. Butte Creek in Chico, CA is a prime example of this point. The existing powerhouse is one hundred years old, outdated and run-down, yet it is maintained because it meets the mega-wattage qualifications. As most paddlers know, size doesn’t matter when referring to the environmental impact of Hydropower projects, and often, smaller Hydropower sources have a bigger environmental impact than their larger, more efficiently run counterparts. There is also the issue of our neighboring countries having weaker environmental standards then those in California, and these proposed amendments would operate under those laws instead of our own. This also creates the problem of shipping “green” jobs out of the country. California has long been a leader in forward thinking and progressive environmental policy, and it makes no sense to take a step backwards now.
AW is asking for your help in blocking these proposed amendments. Listed here are links to the staff email inboxes of the Legislators who authored this bill and who need to hear from you. Please send comment letters as soon as possible. There will be a hearing on these amendments Wednesday, July 8th, so time is short. Please, let them know how you feel about these proposed changes to CA’s energy policy.
1. Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, Chair, Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee 39th District
Staff: Edward Randolph: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Senator Joseph Simitian, (author of SB 14) 11th District
Staff: Kristin Stauffacher: email@example.com..gov
3. Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, (author or AB 64) 43rd District
Staff: Matt Hale: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Senator Alex Padilla, Chair, Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee 20th District
Staff: Kellie Smith: email@example.com
5. Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner: Chair Assembly Natural Resources 14th District Staff: Lawrence Lingbloom: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the environmental impact on British Colombia Hydropower, check out this video "49 Megawatts"