The Energy is Out West

With word that Barack Obama has settled on his energy and environment team, the future is, not surprisingly, out west, as The Wall Street Journal notes this morning. And that makes the probablity of more environmental regulation for businesses across the country more likely.

Two out of the four top honchos mentioned will travel to Washington from the Golden State: Steven Chu leaving the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in the Bay Area to head the Energy Department, while Nancy Sultey, a deputy Los Angeles mayor on green energy issues will serve as chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

California has been a regulation incubator. The state has an ambitious policy promoting renewable energy development in the state. Indeed, a crucial vote is taking place today that will enshrine a Scoping Plan for a cap-and-trade scheme that will impact many industries across the state. We can expect the Californians joining the administration, as well as many others looking west for regulation inspiration, to spread these policies across the country.