Opinion

Fair ‘exit fee’ critical to renewable energy future

A concentrated solar energy thermal plant in the Mojave Desert. (Photo: Piotr Zajda, via Shutterstock)

While utility responsibility related to California’s devastating wildfires is dominating headlines and the agendas of policymakers, flying below the radar is a pending decision from the California Public Utilities Commission to change the formula for a fee charged to energy consumers who leave the power supply of investor-owned utilities (IOUs) like PG&E and instead get power from local community choice aggregation programs, also known as CCAs.

Opinion

‘Company unions’ deepen post-Janus threat to labor

A union supporter carries the California flag at a rally in Capitol Park. (Photo: Karin Hildebrand Lau, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: You’d be hard pressed to find a more challenging threat to America’s labor movement than the Supreme Court’s recent Janus decision—which overturned 40 years of established legal precedent and the laws of 23 states in forcing public sector unions to represent non-members for free.

Opinion

Asbestos is putting children at risk

A worker removes asbestos-laden material from a building roof. (Photo: Bjoern Wylezich)

OPINION: I think it’s fair to say that the health of children should be of the utmost importance to pretty much everyone, but we’ve let them down. Asbestos is a known carcinogen that is still legal in the United States and children are regularly exposed to the toxin.

Opinion

Leadership must act now on climate change

Solar panels arrayed in the Mojave Desert. (Photo: Andrei Orlov, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: As firefighters from across the West come together to battle wildfires, and legislators meet for their last week of this year’s legislative session, our state’s leadership has before them a real opportunity to take decisive action to help mitigate the climate trends that are weighing on our state today.

Opinion

California’s energy future: Are we ready for 100?

Wind turbines in operation near Palm Springs. (Photo: Sumikophoto, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Imagine a California powered solely by renewable energy – it may be within reach as the California Legislature considers Senate Bill 100, which would put the state on the path towards 100% fossil-fuel free electricity by 2045. On Tuesday, the bill passed the state Assembly, and it now heads to the state Senate for a final vote before reaching Gov. Brown’s desk by the end of the week. The likely passage of SB 100 has sparked a statewide debate around one question: Are we ready for 100?

Opinion

Clinical trials: Data privacy law needs quick fix

Scientists at work in a clinical laboratory. (Photo: Minerva Studio, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Unfortunately, California’s recently passed data privacy law will have unintended consequences for medical research and clinical trials in California and may inadvertently prevent patients like me from accessing the clinical trials that are keeping us alive.

Opinion

Clock ticking on desert protection

Sunrise in the Mojave Desert, CAstle Peaks. (Photo: sierralara, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: The window of opportunity is rapidly closing for Senate Leader Toni Atkins and the California Legislature to save the Mojave Desert from Cadiz, Inc.’s reckless plan to suck the water out from under one of the Earth’s driest places and sell it to water golf courses and suburban lawns as far away as Orange County. Killed by Barack Obama and revived by Donald Trump, the water mining project would dramatically overdraw the aquifer below the desert and almost certainly stop the flow of water to the springs that preserve the Mojave’s fragile biodiversity.

Opinion

Urgent need to fix California’s ‘bottle bill’

Crushed containers await recycling at a California facility. (Photo: Joseph Sohm)

OPINION: The fact of the matter is that recycling rates are falling in California. For the first time in a decade, the percentage of beverage containers being recycled has dropped below 80 percent. The decline means that about 1.7 million containers that five years ago were being recycled are today being buried in landfills or, worse, tossed aside as litter.

Opinion

Women’s role suffers in merging local treasurer, controller offices

The California state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Adonis Villanueva, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: The leadership of the California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors (CACTTC) is comprised of five elected women and two men, thus reflecting the success of women in elected office. Representing the concerns of CACTTC, we find it ironic that at a time when gender balance in politics is front-and-center, the office to which historically more women than men are elected is being eroded through consolidation of treasurer-tax collector with auditor-controller without voter approval.

Opinion

Trump admin has declared war on the environment

The deeply forested landscape in Humboldt County, where environmental protection is a critical issue. (Photo: Ethan Daniels)

OPINION: The resignation of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt was met with a collective sigh of relief across the nation. Pruitt, one of President Donald Trump’s most loyal foot soldiers in the Trump Administration’s ongoing war on environmental quality, environmental justice, and environmental health, had overseen some of the most egregious rollbacks of environmental protections in history during his brief and troubled tenure in office.

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