Wasting no time in his first day on the job, California’s just-sworn-in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order suspending all proposed new regulations and initiating a massive review of all regulations “adopted, amended or repealed in the last five years.”

The exact impact on the energy sector was unclear, but the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission promulgate rules and orders regularly impacting billions of dollars in the electricity, natural gas, petroleum and renewable energy industries. As a state constitutionally-based entity, the CPUC usually does not fall under the governor’s direct authority and it is not clear whether the commission orders constitute “regulations,” according to one state Senate energy committee staff member.

“Under the Executive Order, all proposed regulations will be suspended for 180 days pending a thorough review,” the announcement from the new governor’s press office said. (Initial calls to the new governor’s press office for clarification were not returned by late Monday afternoon.)

In addition, the order mandates that each state agency “conduct a 90-day review of all regulations, adopted, amended or appealed in the last five years” to make an assessment of whether they are “necessary, clear, consistent and are not unnecessarily burdensome or cause undue harm to California’s economy.” Each agency’s findings are directed to be submitted to Schwarzenegger’s legal affairs secretary.

The new governor’s action was one of two taken on this first day. The other was fulfilling a campaign promise to repeal a so-called “car tax” that had been tripled to help close the state’s multi-billion-dollar budget deficit.

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