Wild Tree Foundation advocates for a world run on local, distributed, publicly and cooperatively owned renewable and sustainable energy resources. We fight for the end of fossil fuel electricity generation; for the protection of our environment, climate, and wildlife; and against corruption in the regulation of for-profit, investor-owned utilities at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
For-profit, investor-owned utilities that are responsible for causing fires and other disasters should not be bailed out. Victims of utility-caused disasters, such as the 2017 Napa and Sonoma fires and 2018 Camp Fire, should be fully compensated for their losses by the utilities, but not at the expense of ratepayers.
2017 Fires Bailout: CPUC proceeding R.19-01-006 regarding ratepayer recovery for 2017 fires under SB 901. Wild Tree is fighting a bailout for PG&E for the Napa Sonoma fires and a bailout for SCE for the Thomas Fire. Wild Tree supports the Commission decision to prevent PG&E from getting a bailout from this avenue but opposes the Commission’s leaving the door open for an SCE bailout.
- Wild Tree Comments on the Proposed Decision – The Commission should defer approval of SB 901 stress test methodology to a full administrative hearing opened if and when SCE files an application for recovery of costs for the 2017 Fire it caused. Andy decision should be limited to prohibiting PG&E from a SB 901 bailout, should limit bailout to 2017 fires, and should only allow bailout following application for cost recovery.
- Wild Tree Opposition to Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Application for Rehearing – The Commission’s decision to prohibit PG&E from getting a bailout for the 2017 fires under SB 901 because it filed for bankruptcy should be upheld.
Bailout for Future Fires: CPUC proceeding R.19-07-017 implementation of AB 1054. Wild Tree is advocating that a $15+ billion rate increase to fund the pre-bailout wildfire insurance fund is unconstitutional, unreasonable, unjust, and unsafe.
- Wild Tree Comments on the Proposed Decision – Approval of the proposed decision to fund the Wildfire Fund would be an abuse of discretion and an unconstitutional taking of ratepayer property without due process of law.
- Wild Tree Comments on the Scoped Issues – Commission must deny increase in rates to fund Wildfire Fund because it cannot guaranteed due process rights of ratepayers and because the Fund will disincentive the investor owned utilities to prioritize safety over profit.
- Wild Tree Reply Comments on the Scoped Issues – Evidentiary hearings are required pursuant to the right to notice and meaningful opportunity to be heard.
2017 Fires Fines: CPUC proceeding R.19-06-015 investigation into PG&E violations of the law that resulted in 2017 fires. Wild Tree seeks to ensure that the fines assessed for violations of laws intended to prevent utility-caused disasters and otherwise protect public health are substantial enough to have a deterrent effect against prioritization of profits over safety as well as punitively addressing loss of life, homes, and communities; degradation of human and environmental health; and harm to our climate.
The climate crisis is the most pressing issue of our time and we must take immediate and decisive action to reverse our current trajectory. But, such action must be undertaken through holistic and sustainable means. In regards to the energy sector’s contribution to climate change, Wild Tree Foundation advocates for the development of holistic and sustainable energy programs with a focus on decreased use of fossil fuel and decreased greenhouse gas emissions; decreased consumption and increased efficiency; reliance on local, distributed renewable resources; and protection of human health, wildlife, and wild lands.
Wild Tree Foundation also advocates for a greater focus on the contributions of industry and agriculture to greenhouse gas and other hazardous emissions. Decreased consumption, a shift to plant based diet and elimination of concentrated animal feeding operations, and the decrease and eventual elimination of oil and gas extraction are all critical components of any sound plan to address the climate crisis.
Building Decarbonization: CPUC proceeding R.19-01-011 rulemaking to implement SB 1477 BUILD and TECH programs. Wild Tree is a rare voice against thoughtless building electrification that, if done wrong, will result in an increase in GHG emission as electricity load is increased. Wild Tree is advocating for holistic and sustainable building decarbonization programs that incorporate efficiency and increased installation of larger rooftop solar systems to prevent electrified buildings from increasing electricity load.
- Wild Tree Comments on Staff Proposal – This proceeding should focus on developing programs and policies that pair electrification with measures to increase efficiency and installation of greater capacity solar PV systems. The life cycle of replaced and replacement appliances must be considered.
- Wild Tree Reply Comments on Staff Proposal – Program focus should be on making the most efficient technologies available and affordable, and on decreasing installation costs.
Waste Methane: CPUC proceeding A.19-02-015 SDG&E application for a green tariff for “renewable natural gas.” Wild Tree opposes SDG&E efforts to market waste methane as some sort of renewable, green alternative to natural gas and to import waste methane through the natural gas pipeline system. Methane is a potent GHG that poses great risk to our climate, and human and environmental health regardless of its source. Instead of seeking to create a market for waste methane from manure, trash, and waste water, we should be focusing our efforts on decreasing the creation of waste methane at the source. This should include efforts to increase plant based eating, utilization of unpreventable waste methane at its source for local power generation i.e. waste treatment plant, and municipal composting and waste diversion programs.
We must ween ourselves off our fossil fuel addiction and transition to a cleaner, healthier, more democratic power grid. But we must make this transition thoughtfully and sustainably. Wild Tree advocates against utility scale generation, including wind and solar, in wild lands and wildlife habitat. We have greatly untapped efficiency and demand response potential that decreases the need for power generation at the plug. We have abundant rooftops real estate for solar generation and opportunities for distributed wind and solar. Massive, utility scale generation in remote, wild locations, such as the bird-killing Ivanpah, are unnecessary and Wild Tree advocates against the development of any such facilities.
Transmission in the desert: A.18-05-007 SCE application to increase capacity of a large transmission line through critical habitat for the endangered desert tortoise. Wild Tree objects to this application as an attempt at a money grab for an unnecessary project. The upgrade would enable increased utility scale generation on pristine desert lands, cause increased deaths of the already highly imperiled desert tortoise and other at-risk animal and plant species, and increase capacity for the import of dirty power (including coal fired generation) from Nevada.
- Wild Tree Comments on Mitigated Negative Declaration – The California Environmental Quality Act requires that an Environmental Impact Report be prepared to address impacts to endangered desert tortoise, eagles, and many other imperiled species.