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How to get engaged in the BP story

Is it too late to halt the project and the flow of stimulus money to BP?

No, the Hydrogen Energy California project is by no means a foregone conclusion. It has yet to be approved by the California Energy Commission, and faces various reviews from other government agencies. Also, federal funding could be jeopardized if it falls behind schedule.

How can a project that is not “shovel ready” qualify for stimulus funds?

Though the federal government has emphasized the importance of shovel-ready projects, not all stimulus projects have to be immediately set for construction. The Hydrogen Energy California project addresses another government priority: demonstrating the commercial viability of “clean coal” power plants. The Recovery Act specifically included funds for the Department of Energy’s Clean Coal Power Initiative.

Are there any protections in place to prevent another BP disaster?

The venture must submit an emergency action plan addressing disaster preparedness to the California Energy Commission for approval. The commission also requires the project to maintain fire, earthquake and worker-safety protections, as well as “on-site inspections by local building inspectors and fire departments, and field audits,” according to a commission spokesperson. 

Where can I go to learn more about the stimulus grant awarded to BP?

For a more detailed description of the grant awarded to Hydrogen Energy California, go here.

For the project's website, which includes a video about how the plant would work, go here.

For the Department of Energy's press release announcing its stimulus grant, go here.

How do you comment or lodge a complaint? And to whom?

The California Energy Commission is the lead state agency regulating the Hydrogen Energy California project. The full commission is scheduled to vote in spring 2011 whether to approve the project after considering environmental, safety and other concerns. Before that, there will be a hearing – including public comments – currently scheduled for Jan. 12, 2011. This month, on Aug. 17, the commission will also hold a meeting on the part of the project that will funnel carbon dioxide underground to flush out unreachable oil deposits. Members of the public can contact the commission’s public adviser to find out how to participate in the process or submit comments. (The proceedings can be followed here.)

KEY CONTACTS

Commissioners at the California Energy Commission
Karen Douglas (chair)
(916) 654-5036

James D. Boyd (vice chair)
(916) 654-3787

Jeffrey D. Byron
(916) 654-3992

Anthony Eggert
(916) 654-4930

Robert B. Weisenmiller
(916) 654-4001

Follow the California Energy Commission on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ENERGYCA

Department of Energy
Call: (202) 586-5000
E-mail: the.secretary@hq.doe.gov
Write: U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
Twitter: www.twitter.com/energy

The White House
www.whitehouse.gov/contact

U.S. Senators
Sen. Barbara Boxer

Call: (202) 224-3553
E-mail: boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/policycomments.cfm
Write: 112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Twitter: www.twitter.com/boxer_2010
Facebook: www.facebook.com/barbaraboxer

Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Call: (202) 224-3841
E-mail: feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactUs.EmailMe
Write: 331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Contact your representative

To write your representative, go to https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml and enter your ZIP code.

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