Fortnightly Magazine - August 1997

Carbon Sequestration: Robin Hoods of the Forest?

Appearing as tree huggers, utilities draw skeptical reaction from environmentalists.

At first glance, it looks like the same old story: Environmentalists versus utilities. But this time, the utilities are the ones fighting for the forests (em with a twist.

Utilities, major producers of carbon dioxide, believe they've found a cost-effective way to offset emissions through carbon sequestration, or sinks, which means converting pastures to forests or maintaining old-growth groves.

But environmentalists call it an easy way out.

Groups Call Phase-II Filing "Frankenstein"

Two California watchdog groups, The Utility Reform Network and Utility Consumers Action Network, have filed a joint protest at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission against the proposed structure of California's independent system operator and power exchange (Docket Nos. EC96-19-003 and ER96-1663-003).

The groups believe the proposed structures would hurt small consumers. They noted that although small consumers use about one-third of the state's electricity, they only have two votes out of 26 in both the PX and the ISO.