Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Global Warming Think Tank

You would think we have enough groups studying this issue, but if a good case can be made for California to have its own, it could be a good use of public funds.

Climate think tank created on shaky legal grounds, Legislature's attorneys say
California utility regulators overstepped their authority in establishing the institute and can't force ratepayers to pick up the tab, the opinion says.
By Elizabeth Douglass
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 29, 2008

California utility regulators overstepped their authority and can't force electricity and natural gas customers to pay for the recently approved $600-million global-warming think tank, according to an opinion issued Monday by the state Legislature's attorneys.

The 14-page opinion was requested by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland), who disagreed with the California Public Utilities Commission's decision this month to create the California Institute for Climate Studies using funds from utility ratepayers.

"We have not found either a constitutional or a statutory basis that authorizes the commission to establish the CICS," Legislative Counsel Diane Boyer-Vine wrote in her opinion. "We think that a court would hold that the establishment of the CICS by the commission is outside the commission's general constitutional authority to establish rules for, and to fix the rates of, public utilities."