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Jake Levine is a member of the firm’s Public Policy Practice Group, and its Clean Energy and Climate Industry Group. Mr. Levine advises clients on a variety of public policy, legislative, regulatory, and business matters related to clean energy, climate, water, transportation, and technology.

Prior to joining Covington, Mr. Levine held a number of senior positions at the intersection of clean energy policy and technology. Mr. Levine served most recently as Senior Counsel and Principal Consultant to California State Senator Fran Pavley, where he led a team focused on state policy related to climate change, electric vehicles, energy storage, drought and water policy. As part of his duties in the State Senate, Mr. Levine led the successful campaign to draft, design, and enact SB 32 (Pavley) and AB 197 (Garcia), new climate and environmental justice legislation in California.

Mr. Levine also served as Chief of Staff to the President of Opower, a software firm that uses big data and behavioral science technology to help consumers take control their energy use. In this role, Mr. Levine managed a series of cross-organizational projects, including development of policy innovation, partnerships, and sales opportunities in Latin American and Asia, as well as federal and state-level regulatory reforms related to the U.S. utility sector.

Mr. Levine also has experience in the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, where he worked on a host of innovative energy policies, including the most stringent fuel economy standards ever set and the first-ever greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and trucks. He served as a member of President Obama's delegation to the U.N. Conference of Parties in Copenhagen, as a member of the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee, and during the 2008 presidential campaign, traveled with Senator Obama to more than 20 states and Europe, managing the national press corps.

This month, situated among foldable tablet computers and flying taxis, the U.S. Secretary for Transportation, Elaine Chao, unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (“CES”) the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) long-anticipated fourth round of automated vehicles guidance, “AV 4.0.”  Formally entitled, “Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies,” AV 4.0 is less regulatory guidance and more regulatory aggregator.  The document lists in great detail the various Administration efforts—across 38 federal departments and agencies—geared toward promoting, supporting, and providing accountability for users and communities with respect to autonomous mobility.

Continue Reading IoT Update: DOT Introduces Fourth Round of Automated Vehicles Guidance (AV 4.0)

Companies seeking approval for pipelines got some encouraging news from a Trump Administration proposal to cut back on states’ authority to block pipelines by withholding state water quality approvals, but environmentalists and states continue to express skepticism and are likely to sue. On August 22, the EPA proposed its Updating Regulations on Water Quality Certification  (“Proposed Rule”) to replace and update the existing water quality certification process under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). The EPA’s Proposed Rule comes in response to Executive Order 13868, Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth, issued on April 10, 2019 to “reduce regulatory uncertainties that currently make energy infrastructure projects expensive and that discourage new investment.” To ensure “the timely construction of the infrastructure needed to move our energy resources through domestic and international commerce,” the Administration directed the EPA to update Section 401 for purposes of achieving a more “efficient permitting process.”
Continue Reading The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Proposed Changes to State and Tribal Certification Authority under Clean Water Act Section 401

Last month, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed on a plan to implement a sweeping new transportation policy in Manhattan: congestion pricing.   New York will join other major cities around the world – including London (Congestion Charge), Stockholm (Congestion Tax), and Singapore (Electronic Road Pricing) – which have recently implemented a form of congestion pricing, but New York City will be the first American city to do it.
Continue Reading Pricing Roads in the United States: New York Sets the Bar on Fixing Traffic and Reducing Urban Pollution

With potential liabilities in excess of $30 billion stemming from a series of deadly wildfires that ignited across Northern California in 2017 and 2018, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and its holding company PG&E Corp. (PG&E) filed for Chapter 11 relief in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday.

The filing triggers a complex, multi-forum struggle among creditors, energy providers, and many other diverse stakeholders.  The impact of the restructuring process will be far reaching, jeopardizing compensation to wildfire victims, the state’s implementation of its ambitious climate and renewable energy policies, and the ultimate future of the utility as a partner in those efforts.
Continue Reading Rising from the Ashes: How PG&E’s Bankruptcy Threatens the Energy Sector and California’s Progress on Climate Change

On November 13, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched its Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI), which will decrease nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by updating the existing NOx standard for heavy-duty trucks. EPA’s announcement comes just as the California Air Resources Board (CARB) updated its Heavy-Duty On-board Diagnostic (HD OBD) requirements and prepares to implement its own Phase 2 GHG regulation for heavy-duty vehicles and trailers.
Continue Reading EPA and CARB Begin Reexamining Heavy-Duty Vehicle Regulations

On Monday, September 10, 2018, two days before kicking-off the Global Climate Action Summit he is co-hosting in San Francisco, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 100 (De León), The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, which sets a state policy that eligible renewable energy and zero-carbon resources supply 100 percent (%) of all retail sales of electricity in California by 2045. (Our summary of SB 100 is here.)
Continue Reading Governor Jerry Brown signs SB 100 and Executive Order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045

A bill that would set California on a trajectory toward carbon-free emissions from its electric power sector cleared a major hurdle with its passage through the California State Legislature. SB 100 (De León), The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, sets a state policy that eligible renewable energy and zero-carbon resources supply 100 percent (%) of all retail sales of electricity in California by 2045. 
Continue Reading California Legislature Passes Bill Putting State on Path to 100% Renewable and Zero-Carbon Power

On June 19th, a group of diverse businesses from a variety of industries announced the formation of the Transportation Electrification Accord (“Accord”). This announcement signaled an increasingly firm consensus around the importance of open, resilient, and cooperative approaches to transportation electrification — and major companies and organizations, some of whom have not previously been active in this realm (such as the Edison Electric Institute, Southern Company, AEP, GM, and Honda) have come together around this effort.
Continue Reading Industry is Leading the Way on Transportation Electrification

On April 6th, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a Proposed Decision authorizing pilot testing for autonomous vehicles (AVs) in California. This action follows up on the California DMV’s permitting rules for AVs in California, which would have allowed driverless testing and deployment permits to issue as early as April 2 of this year.