New Bill to Help Green Industries in California

September 11, 2012

California prides itself on being at the forefront of green and sustainable industry practices. Its residents also pride themselves on being at the forefront of new and revolutionary business practices. If some members of the State Assembly have their hopes come to fruition, a new bill would bring these two realities into a single lucrative and green concept that would pave the way for thousands of new jobs and tremendous economic growth in California’s Imperial Valley. Sacramento business attorneys suspect that it will also create tremendous demand for regulatory compliance advice as new companies get involved in the industry.

According to a recent article in the Sacramento Bee, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2205 into law on Friday. Assembly Member V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) and Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), who co-authored the bill, say that the bill brings several state regulatory schemes into the 21st Century, allowing for a new technology to be applied to the extraction of precious minerals from the geothermal brines in California’s Imperial Valley.

Some of the byproducts of geothermal energy production in this area are actually quite valuable and applicable in a number of green industries. The production of geothermal energy produces high concentrations of lithium, manganese, and several other precious minerals. Among the most prevalent uses of these materials is in the production of electric vehicle batteries.

Californians are purchasing electric cars at a higher rate than in any other state in the union. It seems only fitting that the raw materials used in the production of electric car batteries could come primarily from local and sustainable sources. One estimate suggests that the byproduct materials from a single geothermal plant could be used to produce in excess of one and a half million electric car batteries. Such production could also inject as much as $25 billion into the state economy and provide countless high paying jobs. Lawmakers say that this industry will “accelerate the green economy in California” and will be “vital to…other clean energy technologies needed to meet the state’s climate targets.”

By all accounts, this new technology and the regulatory scheme to go with it should make California the world’s largest producer of lithium, a raw material that could gain in importance into the next several decades as electric cars begin to replace gas cars. Newcomers to this industry, however, should be wary of the strict regulatory measures that have been signed into law. Assembly Bill 2205 requires compliance with a number of notice and reporting standards as well as several pollution and emissions controls.

Those who wish to profit from this new and exciting opportunity should be mindful that they will need the aid of a California business lawyer to help interpret the new law and identify how to meet the rigorous compliance standards. Failing to meet the requirements of these regulatory measures can mean the suspension of your license to operate or could result in crippling fines. Be sure that your operation is meeting these requirements.

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