East Bay enviro named to state energy panel

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated Julia Levin, 45, of Kensington, to the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission — commonly called the California Energy Commission — on Thursday.

Levin, a Democrat, has worked for the National Audubon Society as its global warming campaign director since 2007 and before that as its California policy director since 2003. Earlier, Levin was California policy coordinator for the Union of Concerned Scientists from 1999 to 2003, an environmental attorney in private practice from 1997 to 1999 and a senior staff attorney at the Natural Heritage Institute from 1994 to 1996. She is the American Wind Wildlife Institute‘s board chairwoman and a Sierra Club member. The post requires Senate confirmation and carries an annual salary of $128,109.

The commission is California’s main energy policy and planning agency, with responsibilities such as forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency by setting the state’s appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research; providing market support to existing, new, and emerging renewable technologies; implementing the state’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program; and planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

Schwarzenegger also Thursday announced he’s nominating current Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas, 34, of Sacramento, to take over as the panel’s chair; the term of former chairwoman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel of Piedmont ended last month. This appointment also is subject to state Senate confirmation, and carries a $132,179 annual salary; Douglas also is a Democrat.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.