News

Chris Ragan, EcoFiscal Commissioner Chair
Submitted on July 13, 2016 - 6pm

Ontario finalized its cap-and-trade program in June, and will conduct the first auction in July. As a member of the Western Climate Initiative, the province has also signaled its intent to link its system to similar ones operating in Quebec and California. The Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act mandates that revenues from Ontario’s auctions go into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account to fund a number of diverse programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But experts disagree on how the province can best recycle the cap-and-trade revenue. Before the program was finalized, the Canada EcoFiscal Commission hosted a roundtable of advocates from around the country representing priorities from social inequality to business development. VX News presents an excerpt of the debate with remarks by Chris Ragan, chair of the Canada EcoFiscal Commission; Rick Smith, executive director of the Broadbent Institute; Vicky Sharpe, senior fellow at the International Institute for Sustainable Development; Mike Moffat, chief economist at the Moet Center; and Mark Cameron, executive director of Canadians for Clean Prosperity.

Janette Sadik-Khan
Submitted on July 12, 2016 - 5pm

Trailblazing New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan joins TPR for an interview to highlight her new book StreetFight. Sadik-Khan transformed the Big Apple’s view on public spaces, bike sharing, mobility, and more. During her tenure between 2007-2013, Sadik-Khan implemented 400 miles of bikelanes, moved forward on 60 plazas, and started New York City’s first six rapid bus lines. She describes the trying process of implementing her vision of moving beyond taxis and endless congestion. As Los Angeles continues to deal with a fractured planning process, Sadik-Khan also offers some insights about trying innovative “complete street” pilot projects, incorporating stakeholder feedback, and carefully measuring the right data.

Brett Moss
Submitted on July 12, 2016 - 4pm

June marked the opening of the Electrical Training Institute, a cutting-edge sustainable facility in Commerce, CA that serves as a prototype for new green design guidelines known as Net Zero Plus. VX News spoke with Brett Moss, training director at the ETI; Warren Neilson, principal at design firm Stok; and Dan Cohee of PDE Energy, representing local unions IBEW/NECA, who developed the guidelines. They explained the state-of-the-art sustainable technologies incorporated into the microgrid facility, the high-performance controls afforded by data tracking, and how a Net Zero Plus building could be a model for community resilience in Los Angeles and beyond.

Phil Washington
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 6pm

At the “Transit Oriented Los Angeles 2015” conference hosted by Urban Land Institute-LA in December, VerdeXchange Chairman David Abel moderated a discussion between California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales and Metro CEO Phil Washington. Washington and Morales both emphasized their focus on the positive impacts transit build-out can produce for the communities it touches, if approached with care—and the steps they are taking to meet local needs and incorporate community feedback into plans that are expected to yield a transformative impact on the Southern California region as well as the entire state. They also discussed both the agency and authority’s efforts to protect and bolster local business as rail construction occurs.

Rick Cameron
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 5pm

The Coalition for Clean Air’s Port and Freight Solutions Symposium in October brought together over 100 port experts, environmental advocates, and government agencies concerned with improving air quality and efficiency through reducing greenhouse-gas emissions at the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles. Here, VX News presents edited excerpts from a number of panels that took place at the conference. Featured speakers include: California Air Resources Board Commissioner Hector De La Torre, Port of Long Beach Director of Environmental Planning Rick Cameron, ILWU’s Peter Peyton, and SoCalGas Director of Policy and Environment George Minter. These selections highlight promising new technology that could dramatically reduce truck emissions, as well as new initiatives underway at the ports.

Joe Biden
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 5pm

In November, United States Vice President Joe Biden took part in a roundtable discussion at Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s newly opened LA Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown LA’s Arts District. Biden spoke alongside Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LACI CEO Fred Walti. The state-of-the-art facility, owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, supports and grows companies from the very beginning stages. Biden toured the campus, as well as hearing from investors and entrepreneurs launching companies within the incubator. Given the timing of the event, Biden also comments on global events and the need for optimism in the face of terror attacks.

Deborah Flint
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 5pm

Deborah Flint was nominated over the summer to take on the role of Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director, after Gina Marie Lindsey stepped down from the position. Flint comes to Los Angeles from the Bay Area, where she served as Oakland International Airport Director and oversaw the delivery of the BART Oakland Airport Connector. Flint speaks with VX News about her transition and new priorities regarding LAX’s continued growth and coming connection to rail, as well as LAWA’s ongoing construction and investment plans. She situates LAX as a major economic force in the region, explaining why growth is necessary to both passenger and cargo transport, and the management style she plans to introduce to accompany the airport system’s expansion.

Harlan Kelly
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 5pm

In building a new headquarters, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission chose to utilize cutting-edge technologies, materials, and construction techniques, resulting in an extraordinarily sustainable structure that provided a new standard for municipal policy. Harlan Kelly, SFPUC General Manager, shares with VX News how “one of the greenest buildings in the nation” came to be and identifies the innovative sustainability solutions it takes advantage of, including water-recycling and energy-saving capabilities. He notes that although the country’s economic downturn facilitated the project’s timely completion, the cost-savings of such a structure nonetheless makes the case for public agencies to invest in these often-expensive technologies.

Gary Hildebrand
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 5pm

With extreme rain forecasted this winter, after years of record-setting drought, Southern California must prepare both to take advantage of the precipitation and to ensure it does not cause harm. Deputy Director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Works Gary Hildebrand spoke with VX News about preparation measures targeted to this year’s El Niño, noting that the agency remains prepared, even in the absence of this storm, for major precipitation events. He highlights storm-water capture, reuse, and infiltration operations that take place year-round, as well as the challenges brought by California’s ongoing drought. Finally, he offers his perspective on the much-contested LA River—explaining his agency’s role in its management, considering its flood-control capabilities, and evaluating proposed changes to its function in the city.

Steve Westly
Submitted on January 18, 2016 - 2pm

Steve Westly, former California State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, delivered remarks at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)’s GloSho’15 conference, drawing on his long experience in energy innovation to focus on the remarkable progress of renewable energy technology and commercialization. Here, VX News presents an edited transcript of his address. Westly comments on trends in the sustainability and cleantech markets, such as the dropping costs of renewables and the surge of Internet of Things technologies, offering his perspective on the forces driving these trends and how companies across industries can take advantage of them. Having traced the trajectory of technological and financial innovations aimed at sustainability, he concludes by divulging his predictions for the cleantech market’s future—a future, he argues, centered in California.

Kathleen Wynne
Submitted on November 4, 2015 - 3pm

On November 3, VerdeXchange Institute co-hosted Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, welcoming her to LACI's La Kretz Innovation Campus for a conversation with CARB's Mayor Nichols and former California ISO Chair Bob Foster, moderated by Waterloo Innovation Summit Chair David Fransen. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti opened the program. Here, VX News presents edited excerpts from the conversation.

Joe Edmiston
Submitted on October 19, 2015 - 1pm

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Founding Executive Director Joe Edmiston is among the original champions of the LA River, who long understood it as an opportunity for green space rather than simply a concretized channel. Now, Edmiston expresses his support for Frank Gehry joining these ongoing efforts. Edmiston also comments on the California drought and its impacts on parkland.

Jeff Kightlinger
Submitted on October 19, 2015 - 12pm

Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, updates VX News readers on a new initiative through MWD and the LA County Sanitation Districts: a demonstration project that could lead to one of the largest recycled-water projects on the West Coast. Kightlinger notes that, despite this endeavor and other efforts to utilize local water, Southern California will continue to rely on imported water. He touches on progress at the Delta to increase reliability of that supply.

Michael George
Submitted on October 15, 2015 - 10am

California’s four-year drought has brought a tangle of interests, conflicts, and questions regarding state water practices to the fore. At the intersection of these issues, and perhaps uniquely equipped to address them, is Delta Watermaster Michael George. Here, George delivers a comprehensive overview of the matters he oversees in the Delta: the adjudication of water rights, urban versus agricultural water interests, the environmental challenges of water distribution, and the pros, cons, and future of Governor Brown’s tunnel plan. Finally, in light of so many recent local and state initiatives regarding water use, George considers which goals are actually achievable.

Rob Katherman
Submitted on October 15, 2015 - 10am

In the Southland, the Water Replenishment District of Southern California has an important ongoing task: to monitor and replenish the region’s supply of groundwater. Robert Katherman has served on the WRD Board for more than 10 years, overseeing the regulation of groundwater pumping and the collection of water for replenishment—which now requires increasing recycling and storm-water capture in order to decrease importation. He updates VX News on the strides made with WRD’s Water Independence Now Plan, as well as what still needs to be done.

David Fransen
Submitted on October 15, 2015 - 10am

Formerly Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles, David Fransen has frequently joined VerdeXchange to discuss the commercialization of clean technology and to consider the close trade relationships between California and Canadian provinces. Now, Fransen returns to VX News as chair of the annual Waterloo Innovation Summit in Ontario, which occurred in September. Fransen recaps the summit and outlines Ontario’s rapidly growing innovation ecosystem.

Cole Hershkowitz
Submitted on October 12, 2015 - 11am

Chai Energy, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based startup reimagining the "Internet of Things" space. Chai CEO Cole Hershkowitz spoke with VX News about the company's remarkable growth since he sat on a VerdeXchange 2015 plenary panel in January. He highlights Chai's focus on data interpretation, noting that the company begins by looking at the problems people encounter with their devices in the home. Helping resolve those issues, Hershkowitz explains, results in reduced energy consumption and savings for customers.

Ricahrd Kauffman
Submitted on October 12, 2015 - 11am

Richard Kauffman is leading New York State's ambitious effort to transform energy delivery. As chair of energy & finance for Governor Cuomo and chair of the board at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Kauffman is deeply involved in reforming regulations, as well as "changing the paradigm" of how government supports renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. VX News sat down with him to glean lessons learned that can inform related efforts in California and across the nation.

Mayor Eric Garcetti
Submitted on October 12, 2015 - 11am

Mayor Eric Garcetti and Governor Jerry Brown welcomed mayors and governors from across China and the United States to Los Angeles in September to sign the US-China Climate Leaders Declaration. The document focuses on the role of sub-national governments in setting ambitious climate-change goals and then meeting those targets. Here, VX News presents edited excerpts from a press event at the US-China Climate Leaders Summit, featuring a collection of US mayors and Governor Brown.

Adel Hagekhalil
Submitted on July 14, 2015 - 4pm

City of LA Bureau of Sanitation Assistant Director Adel Hagekhalil recently became president of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. VX News presents remarks he made in Rhode Island as he assumed the new position, expressing thanks and outlining his main objectives for NACWA going forward.