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The Intersection of Solar Energy and Energy Storage

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the installation of solar photovoltaics in the United States increased by more than 400% from 2010 to 2014.  Looking towards 2015 and beyond, industry analysts continue to be bullish on solar’s continued growth in residential, commercial and utility scale projects stemming in large … Read more »

Environmental Justice Comes of Age with New Science-Based Screening Tools

This past April, the state of California released a first-of-its-kind statewide environmental health-screening tool.  Known as CalEnviroScreen, 1.0, the tool seeks to identify those California communities most burdened by pollution and most vulnerable to its effects.  The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which developed the tool jointly … Read more »

Nanotechnology Regulation – EPA Developing Rule to Regulate All New Uses of Engineered Nanoscale Materials

For nearly a decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been considering how and to what extent to regulate the environmental health and safety aspects of nanoscale materials within the framework of existing laws.  EPA now appears primed to propose an information collection and use pre-authorization review rule applicable … Read more »

Bipartisan Proposal May Pave a Path Forward for Federal Chemical Regulation Reform

To the surprise of many, on May 22, 2013, US Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and David Vitter (R-LA) announced a bipartisan bill – the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) – to modernize the federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).  TSCA’s approach to regulating chemical safety may have been … Read more »

Taking Stock of Climate Change Efforts: As European Carbon Market Falters, CA Expands Cap and Trade to Canada

Unlike many environmental problems, which can be addressed at a local or regional scale, climate change is inherently global in nature: greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions from any source join with historic and contemporary GHG emissions from other sources globally to contribute to the total store of GHGs in the atmosphere.  … Read more »

Hedging Climate Bets: Hurricane Sandy and Climate Adaptation

With environmental issues, crisis often spurs action.  Nuclear safety was ramped up after Three Mile Island.  Hazardous waste laws were strengthened after Love Canal.  And oil transport laws were refined after the Exxon Valdez spill. Along the same lines, Hurricane Sandy has generated renewed attention to the potential effects of … Read more »

California’s Revised Pharmaceutical Waste Handling Law – AB 1442

On September 28, 2012, Governor Brown announced the signing of AB 1442, which has potentially important implications for entities handling pharmaceutical items, including pharmacies, retailers, groceries, hospitals, medical clinics, and other such facilities which handle pharmaceutical and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.  AB 1442 comes at a time when increased attention is … Read more »

Preparing for Green Chemistry

After multiple proposals and nearly four years of public consultation, California recently reproposed its groundbreaking “green chemistry” regulations. Referred to as the “Safer Consumer Products” regulations, this program will ultimately require manufacturers to eliminate particular “Chemicals of Concern” from an array of consumer products.  These rules will affect consumer products … Read more »

10 Reasons Why Sustainable/Energy Retrofits of Commercial Buildings Will Be the Next Big Thing

According to the US Department of Energy, commercial buildings account for 35 percent of US (and 40 percent of global) electricity consumption. Existing commercial buildings on average spend 30 percent of their operating budgets on operating costs and account for close to 20 percent of all global carbon emissions. Today, … Read more »

Keeping The Lights On with Demand-Response and Energy Efficiency Programs

Consumers of electricity have long used energy efficiency and demand-response measures to conserve energy in California and the Northwest. Historically, consumers have reduced their energy use to save energy when faced with power outages, or to save money during hard economic times. The problem is that economic recessions, power outages … Read more »

Unintended Environmental Consequences of the Demise of Redevelopment in California

California has a rich history of seizing opportunities that, at first glance, seem perilous. Following a significant industrial and manufacturing era in California, many communities in the state were saddled with properties contaminated with hazardous substances. These brownfields properties were often located in otherwise prime development areas, such as near … Read more »

What’s Next for the Renewable Power Industry

The current success of renewable (solar, wind, biomass, etc.) and clean electric power generation projects and technologies has been in large part due to public approval and governmental support. This support has come in a variety of forms that mandate use and subsidize cost: renewable fuels standards; renewable portfolio standards … Read more »