Climate Scientist James Hansen Today to Join Assembly Member Mike Gatto in Protest of Corrupt California Public Utilities Commission, Call for Ballot Initiative

Assembly Member Mike Gatto and Climate scientist James Hansen

Assembly Member Mike Gatto and Climate scientist James Hansen


WHAT: Press Conference and Awards Presentation

WHO: Assembly Member Mike Gatto; climate scientist James Hansen

WHEN: After CPUC meeting, Thursday, October 6, 2016 (likely 12:00 pm)

WHERE: Steps of the CPUC at 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA. 


San Francisco, California — Legendary climate scientist James Hansen will join Assembly Member Mike Gatto to call for reforms of California’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) after it meets today.


"What's up with Governor Brown?” asked Hansen. “He killed reform legislation that require the same transparency as other state agencies, and allow appeals to the regular court, not the corrupt PUC courts.  Something is rotten about energy policy in Sacramento — and the losers are ratepayers and young people."


Gatto has said he will continue to fight for reforms and says he will seek a ballot initiative if the legislature fails to act. “The fight for CPUC reform is not over, and I remain committed to continuing the efforts that are sorely needed to bring transparency to the process, help keep rates low, and ensure the safety of Californians,” said Gatto.


“The last time CPUC forced a nuclear plant to close the result was a federal criminal investigation, skyrocketing pollution and higher electricity rates,” said Environmental Progress founder, Michael Shellenberger. “Now CPUC is trying to do the same thing. No CPUC proceedings on Diablo Canyon should go forward without real reforms.”


Statement by James Hansen, climate scientist


There is an ongoing criminal investigation of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in response to the dirty politics and secret deal surrounding the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The result was higher emissions, more dependence on natural gas, and higher electricity prices.


In this context, I am honored to recognize these reformers for their courageous work uncovering unethical, undemocratic, and possibly illegal actions relating to the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station:


  • Consumer Watchdog, whose intrepid investigative journalism continues to expose the corruption of the CPUC and Gov. Jerry Brown.

  • Assemblymember Michael Gatto, who showed independence and determination in seeking sweeping reforms of a CPUC despite powerful forces arrayed against them;

  • Attorneys Michael Aguirre and Maria Severson, who forced into the public light emails and other documents showing how CPUC betrayed the public interest in forcing the high cost of an early plant closure on ratepayers


I hope the award being given by Environmental Progress in my name helps shine a greater light on their work — and the continuing need for legislative reform at the CPUC. While we may not agree on many questions including the role of nuclear energy in reducing carbon emissions, we can all agree that good public policies require democratic institutions accountable to the public and not special interests. These individuals showed exemplary courage and should be guiding lights for other people and institutions operating in service of public, including environmental, concerns.