The State Lands Commission kills Diablo Environmental Review

Executive Summary

The following material includes a review of the recent decision by the California State Lands Commission (SLC) that extended Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s (PG&E) lease of state lands but denied a proposed Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  The all-day hearings which were held at two locations simultaneously had a large turnout by both pro and con proponents. Following the decision, follow-up messages to Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom led to a letter (see below) including his comments challenging opponents over what he claimed were the maximum possible benefits obtainable.

Below are a number of major sections addressing Newsom’s seven main claims and opposing responses to them, the extended policy impacts of the SLC’s decision, the PG&E proposal, and the known environmental impacts of Diablo Canyon’s operation that have all been dismissed by state agencies, a decision that should never have taken place.

The Commission completely failed to exercise its duty of protecting the Public Trust when it failed to balance PG&E’s interests with those of the rest of the state’s.  It should have brought in testimony from the solar industry and the California Energy Commission to evaluate the Diablo Canyon deal cut the week before rather than using it as an excuse not to explore all possible options. Instead the public hearings became a venue for PG&E’s supporters that claimed harm to them over Diablo’s closure, but absolutely nothing about the dramatic number of jobs and benefits to the state if it was closed. In fact, the audience was warned by Commissioners that they would not tolerate a similar sudden stop as was the case with San Onofre, that led to large natural gas replacement power.  When in fact the state’s solar industry, if it had been present could have educated the Commissioners that they were fully capable producing far more jobs and power replacement needs by 2018 as the industry currently has created over 65,000 jobs vs, Diablo’s 1,500 and will bring online 22,000 megawatts over the next five years, vs. Diablo’s 2,200.

The SLC staff also used PG&E’s flawed seismic commentary as well as the California State Water Control Boards’ political dismissal of the plant’s aquatic damages as its reason for not carrying out an EIR.  The following report lays out the details of what happened at the CSL hearing and what its impacts will be.

On June 28th, many longtime activists watched as the SLC Commissioners flip-flopped on their earlier call for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prior to extending a lease of state lands allowing Diablo Canyon to operate beyond 2018. The SLC’s ruling disallowing an EIR and extending the state lease was masterminded by PG&E the week before when it cut a deal with 6 groups—including four environmental groups—that allowed Diablo Canyon’s two nuclear units to run until the end of its NRC license in 2024 and 2025.

The SLC staff’s own report (already removed) that reversed its previous opinion was released a mere 5 days prior to the vote, leaving the public with an unacceptable amount of time to respond. Many concerned organizations requested a delay, even suggesting that the SLC was breaking state meeting laws.  The Commissioners ignored delay requests and voted 3 to nothing in favor of PG&E getting a lease extension and no EIR.

It was pointed out that the SLC was using its own recently added regulations to categorically deny the EIR rather than the far more stringent CEQA exemption codes that allowed the SLC to go ahead with either a draft or full review based on the extraordinary events that had happened or by a major earthquake prior to 2025.  As pointed out by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility’s attorney and former CEC commissioner John Geesman,  the staff’s own analysis of studies on Diablo’s seismic dangers was outdated and clearly prepared with the help of PG&E.

We were treated to what the SLC Commissioners believed to be their duty of balancing their duty to the Public Trust Doctrine with claims the 10 year extension would protect the public from an abrupt San Onofre styled closure that supposedly led to large scale natural gas replacement (actually caused by a corrupt CPUC), crocodile teas for workers, or the loss of property taxes that would affect the county’s top quality schools.

Proponents calling for the EIR were told their efforts would result in increasing the state’s use of Natural Gas. Nothing could have been further from the truth; many speakers voiced concerns that the commission could have given PG&E a shorter lease, expanding the shift to renewable energy, rather than waiting until 2020 to begin.

Instead, it was quite clear that SLC rules governing contact with the public were different from those of the CPUC.  Newsom acknowledged that he had been approached by such pro-nuclear proponents as Stewart Brand, who had lobbied him heavily.

A number of activists sent letters to Lt. Governor Newsom, who responded by claiming that he had “balanced state interests,” using “Public Trust” legal requirements, at the same time claiming that activists had failed to prove that concessions might have been agreed to by PG&E.

Gavin wrote this, or his staff.  There really does need to be a collective response back to him, especially with his claim where he says:

“Those who called for an EIR review have not been able to explain what it would accomplish above and beyond these concessions.”

1. The closure of California’s last nuclear plant in 2025 at the latest.

Comments on Claim Number 1

Incorrect.  The proposal can be withdrawn by PG&E or blocked by the CPUC.
a. An organized closure with a much shorter extended lease.
b. A closure that reflects the current view that we are dealing with a private company that could easily buck state policy if it were to move out of state, or be merged with a larger entity which is a long term agenda of the U.S. electric industry.
c. state officials that understand that PG&E’s corporate culture should be treated as a criminal just as individuals are in this society that break the law.
d. California’s government is being divided and conquered by PG&E – as claimed during SLC hearings that it allowing the state water board which was taken over by the nuclear industry under Schwarzenegger and Brown to waiver original environmental impacts due to its OTC system out to 2025.
e.  Please share with us where you have a guarantee that PG&E will close PG&E by 2025.  What you do have is an MOU that the SLC’s is not party to that could be reversed by the CPUC an agency that has failed to protect the public and could easily find that the economic agreement of an additional $2 billion Diablo rates being demanded by PG&E above what it has already recovered be enough to scuttle the agreement.  In addition, as part of the legal case over San Onofre rates, governor Brown could very well be acting outside the law since he, as well as the CPUC are refusing to share emails between themselves.  Whether it is the CPUC, the recent scandal over the Assembly’s Speakers Slush fund, or the medical pay to Play scandal shows that California is currently plagued with scandals.
f. The SLC has no such detailed ex parte regulations as required by the CPUC. Please submit a detailed report on the conversations you, staff or other commissioners have had with all parties and how long said discussions took to do.  As mentioned in your comments at the end of your presentation, you mentioned that you had extensive conversations with Stewart Brand who is very likely not registered as a lobbyist but should be.
g. As of the end of 2015, PG&E was still actively preparing to extend its NRC license for Diablo Canyon.

2. A signed and written agreement that the lost power of Diablo Canyon can only be replaced by a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiencies

Comments on Claim Number 2

a.  Lt Governor Newsom – are you stating for the record that your agency has received an agreement to such affect, or are you referring to the MOU between PG&E and the six parties?
b. We applaud this, but as presented, why is PG&E waiting until 2018 and 2020 to begin submitting replacement power plans?
c. Wouldn’t this actually be required in any case since the state has mandated this requirement elsewhere?
d. Have you considered the fact that holding onto such a large base load source is actually retarding faster development of power?
e. The state of California has a major political confrontation concerning how to proceed with solar
i.  PG&E and the other state’s IOU’s are clearly opposed to solar rooftop and are actively seeking redress via its allies within the CPUC as recently pointed out in a recent interview with PG&E’s president at the EEI national convention.
ii.  Recent reports state that up to 75% of the state’s electric needs could come from solar rooftop power.
iii. The recent MOU agreement actively is skewed towards allowing large baseload – central solar stations to play a dominant role that would undermine the potential for far more independent jobs that could be used to build out rooftop.
iv. It is now documented that solar rooftop can be tied to a homeowners hot water heater as a battery to store heat during its peak production time. 

3. The written public acknowledgement, for the first time, by a major utility corporation that renewable energy is more cost efficient than nuclear power.

Comments on Claim Number 3

a. On the face of it, this is worth celebrating. But it is clearly way too long in coming.  We are all now paying dearly due to our privatized energy policy conflict.
b. In 1992 the majority of the world’s Nobel Peace Prize winners signed a petition stating that we had 20 years to address climate change issues.  The United States as a whole and specifically the energy industry made sure that the public fail to understand what that urgency meant. The world’s private energy lobbyists continue to do everything in their power to keep the general public uneducated about the growing impacts coming. 

4. The written public acknowledgement, for the first time, by a major utility corporation that the era of baseload power is over, and that renewable sources can carry the weight of energy production.

Comments on Claim Number 4

a. You didn’t read the MOU very well, or the position paper done by FOE.  In the position paper, FOE openly urges PG&E to use large centralized solar concentrating stations in the central valley as a prominent part of its replacement plan.  It should be noted that the largest central concentrating station in the country that is in California was saved from bankruptcy, but also incurred major damages recently –  It could very well be a matter of corporate arson to cover its failure to operate at the levels promised by designers.
b. Yes, there are reports that

5. A signed and written agreement that PG&E will provide 55% of its entire energy sales through renewable sources, from 2031.

Comments on Claim Number 5

As shown in the Policy Impacts section, the state’s solar industry could easily reach 74% of the state’s (Source: Dept. of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Labs) and is already planning over 22,000 megawatts of power in the next five years that creates far more jobs than Diablo Canyon ever has.

a. As shown by Climate Change experts, the recent COP agreements are far too little and far too late.  National and International agreements were clearly hardly more than window dressing.  California’s leadership in advancing change is applauded.
b. However, California also has before it – whether it is a symptom of climate change or part of 100/1000 year environmental cycles, has now over built its human activity beyond the carrying capacity of the land, failing to stop excessive development that is now being demonstrated with growing pressures on our limited water supplies.
i.  Recent tree ring studies shows that the state of California has suffered two 100 year plus droughts in the last 1,200 years
ii. The Netherlands now has a 500 year planning mandate to protect itself from unusual flooding events.
iii. California has no long term plan to such an extent to address 100 or 1,000 year drought cycles.
iv. If California is actually moving into a large drought cycle it will mean far more catastrophic issues than the state has ever faced.
c. The environmental community was almost unilaterally opposed to Gov. Brown’s solutions that include going back to big dams and more movement of water around the state that is also one of the larger users of energy.
d. Agribusiness in California has long been a major reason for the collapse of the state, primarily due to the massive abuse of the central valley lands that at the top of the list includes the destruction of it soils and the rapid depletion of subsurface waters via mono-crop exploitation for profit that is now under major threat because it is unable to
e. The largest source of ghg in California is transportation. At present the state of California has no political agreement or an education plan in place to address the continued addiction to fossil fuel driven cars.
f.  This failure to educate the public on transit impacts means that the state may be setting itself up for major crisis if it is to shift fully away from fossil fuel cars.
g. The United States has intentionally had its political history of how our energy policies have been privatized.
i.  The result of large monopoly companies have inordinate control over how energy policies are developed has many impacts
ii.  California activists have been pushing for solar & Wind development for over 30 years but have been stymied by IOU’s and fossil fuel interests they represent.
iii.  These interests are profit driven where those monies, in the case of IOU’s have long been pushing for large baseload systems, while at the same time pushing to break away from its grid and pipeline responsibilities.
iv.  Large baseload agendas by private interests have not been countered as the next wave of centralized control is being rolled out and it is this 10 year delay that will give PG&E the time to further exploit their agenda at the expense of small independent sources.
h. centralized power no matter what the source will undermine solar rooftop development that could shift resources back to the general public and away from profit motivated systems.
i.  Micro grid development must be the primary plan for California to make local communities self sufficient
j. The state’s aging grid system should be phased out.  take this (PG&E is a heroin dealer) out! :)
k. Central solar development is clearly impacting sensitive desert environmental habitat that should not be disturbed

6. A signed and written agreement from PG&E that it will implement a fair employee retirement, redeployment and retraining program for its Diablo Canyon workforce of 1,500 men and women, to protect those workers and their families from unemployment and hardship.

Comments on Claim Number 6

a.  This is a bait and switch tactic that fails to look at the bigger picture.  Many times the number Diablo Canyon employees could be put to work building solar systems within SLO.
b.  Proponents of the EIR have no quarrel with the Union or those that worked at Diablo Canyon.

7. A signed and written agreement from PG&E to backfill lost Diablo Canyon revenues to the county of San Luis Obispo, to minimize the impact on the public services like schools that we all so deeply cherish.

Comments on Claim Number 7

a.  Proponents of the EIR have no quarrel with the serious concerns of the SLO county School district’s concern over loss of income.
d.  Proponents have the EIR do acknowledge that SLO county had reason to be concerned about the loss of property taxes
e.  However, if the SLC is to be fair and balanced – those monies paid to SLO are coming from ratepayers from across PG&E’s entire region and should be distributed across the entire area.  This points to the problem of inequitable baseload systems that shift money from where most of it is raised that apparently was not addressed by the SLC as part of its Public Trust duties for all California, not just SLO county.
f.  Because of the inequities of baseload distribution, SLO County should be given a special program that would shift its reliance on money extracted from across PG&E’s territory that immediately starts a local solar bank that can then be used to hire workers to move into good paying solar rooftop development.
g.  In addition, to rapidly replace large energy user demand especially the state of California’s transfer of water over from North to South,  the state should do as the country of India is doing – building solar panels over the entire peripheral canal to reduce evaporation losses of water as well as a primary source of power to push the water over the Mt. before it hits SoCal.
h.  Large Agricultural power users all should have mandates to develop onsite solar that include mechanism to reduce water evaporation – and the absolute end of antiquated irrigation activities that should have been mandated towards drip irrigation only!

To Do an EIR or Not to Do an EIR

The SLC’s staff’s own discussion as to whether or not it should do an EIR is telling.  Rather than going ahead with any analysis, it sidestepped the issue by attempting to draw on a fake Public Trust argument in order to make its decision  denying the study. It drew on recently added SLC regulations governing utility exemptions, exemptions that were clearly subordinate to CEQA’s rules governing the utility exemption. During the hearings, as a number of organizations pointed out, CEQA’s rules are clear: if there is any evidence of a potential for unusual events, then an EIR is called for.  And of course, since Diablo was started prior to CEQA’s passage,  there has never been an EIR. Clearly there is something that PG&E is very frightened to reveal.

Please see the License to Kill documentation below for an historic overview of how PG&E has done everything in its power to block any plans to reverse the impacts of its Once-Through-Cooling (OTC) system. Back in 1975 when the reactors were first activated, the largest single Pacific population of abalone numbering in the thousands  was killed at Diablo Cove. Since operation began in 1985 the facility dumps nearly 2.5 billion gallons of hot water directly into the ocean with its OTC system because unlike most nuclear facilities, the plant has no cooling towers.  Additionally, it also dumps the following toxins on a daily basis:

  • 8500 pounds of arsenic
  • 5800 pounds of cyanide
  • 9300 pounds of lead
  • 2100 pounds of zinc
  • 150 pounds of mercury

(Source: Protest Diablo: Living And Dying Under The Shadow Of A Nuclear Power Plant, by Judith Everett; from the 1981 California Central Coast Regional Water Control Board hearing testimony by David Glock, graduate student at UCSB’s Marine Science’s Institute and using PG&E’s own records.)

Following the 2003 report below, additional impacts to cormorants were reported at the facility in 2006. Finally after growing evidence that California’s 23 OTC systems were damaging California’s aquatic life, the state’s Water Quality Control Board (WQCB) issued regulations requiring all units to add cooling systems or be shut down. Exceptions were allowed for the state’s nuclear facilities, allowing waivers that extended through Diablo’s entire first license period, ending in 2024 simply because mitigation estimates ran from $4 to14 billion dollars.  Additionally, pro-nuclear activists were appointed to the statewide WQCB to make sure it was protected.

Instead of demanding staff from the WQCB to testify, documenting the full history, and ongoing impacts to California’s coastal waters, the SLC chose to stage a circus performance of PG&E employees and SLO County elected officials, testifying on the impacts from the loss of local property taxes provided by the company.

Diablo Canyon's License to Kill

PG&E: Cover-ups, falsifications challenged—but money talks in the end

Licensed to Kill

4-3. Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Luis Obispo, CA

PG&E: Cover-ups, falsifications challenged—but money talks in the end.

The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant near San Luis Obispo, CA, operates two nuclear reactors using the once-through cooling system. Their routine operation was determined to have a damaging effect on the coastal marine environment by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), Central Coast Region. Yet, like other utilities, Diablo Canyon’s operating utility and licensee, PG&E, has long attempted to minimize and obfuscate the facts about its impact on the marine environment.

In 1982, PG&E, under its obligation to the water quality control board’s San Luis Obispo office, submitted a series of reports about the plant’s effect on the surrounding marine environment in Diablo Cove. However, in 1994 the regional board finally discovered, through revelations by the Department of Fish and Game, that PG&E’s data contained only information that showed the plant had little or no effect on the marine environment around its reactors. “Evidence indicates PG&E omitted more than half of the actual test results which showed up to a 90 percent reduction in sea life as it passed through the cooling system,” the state and federal environmental protection agencies said in a joint statement after the discovery that PG&E had suppressed data detrimental to its claims.1

PG&E’s track record of withholding data… on
the reactors’ actual discharge impacts has further
undermined the company’s credibility.

PG&E’s track record of withholding data, for years and even decades, on the reactors’ actual discharge impacts has further undermined the company’s credibility.  These revelations nave led to extensive litigation between PG&E and state water authorities, revealing the lengths to which PG&E is willing to go to cover up facts, avoid mitigation, and stall or withdraw from negotiations. Meanwhile, Diablo Canyon on-going operation further degrades the marine environment.


PG&E fined for tampering with and withholding key data. In May 1997, in one of the largest environmental settlements reached since the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, PG&E was forced to pay out $14.04 million for tampering with and withholding portions of studies that showed negative impacts on entrained marine life at Diablo Canyon.2 Sued by California and U.S. Environmental Protections Agencies, the state and federal attorneys general offices and the RWQCB, Central Coast Region, PG&E was found to be in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The utility’s conclusions about the amount of sea life drawn into the system were found to be based on scientifically unsound data — measurements of the amount of fish and other organisms at the outflow of the cooling system.

PG&E refuses to admit guilt, despite overwhelming evidence. After the 1997 settlement, PG&E refused to admit guilt while the RWQCB conceded that the problem might be impossible to correct with the plant already in place. “It’s not sure there would be anything that could actually be done the way the plant is currently built,” said Paul Jagger, assistant executive officer at RWQCB’s San Luis Obispo office.3 The government agencies that settled with PG&E issued scathing statements about the company, calling the conduct of its senior officials “rogue behavior” and saying its decision not to report findings at Diablo Canyon “lacked integrity.”4

PG&E stalls mitigation agreements. The terms of the settlement included a new study to be done for Diablo Canyon by Moss Landing Marine Laboratory. Terms also stipulated that $6.19 million of the $14.04 million penalty would be directed toward environmental enhancement projects. However, agreement on conservation programs between PG&E and the regional water board led to continual breakdowns in negotiations between the two parties, resulting in delays.

Water board submits to PG&E delaying tactics. By November 1999, the regional board was tired of waiting. Prior to a November 19 board meeting, the San Luis Obispo Telegram—Tribune reported that the board was considering issuing a cease and desist order against the utility company for violating its water discharge permit by damaging the marine environment.5 This would have obligated PG&E to submit an analysis and time line for modifying its water discharge system to prevent further degradation of near-shore habitat.6 At the meeting, PG&E showed a 10-minute video of abundant fish swimming in the cove near the plant, an effort that some board members dismissed as “fluff, misleading and without scientific value.”7 The fish flourishing in the cove were found not to be the indigenous species, but those attracted by the artificially warmed waters. Despite this, the board agreed to yet another delay, giving PG&E until March 30, 2000, to allow the utility to plan adequately for evidentiary hearings on the proposed cease and desist order.

The abundance-of-organisms argument has been shown to be flawed by ecologists and others. As award-winning Harvard Professor of Entomology and conservation scientist Edward O. Wilson pointed out in his landmark book, The Diversity of Life, numerical abundance of any species is not necessarily a guarantee of survival. “The age, health and breeding patterns of individuals have an important effect on the genetic trajectory of a population and eventually its very survival,” Wilson wrote.8 “Even if the woods and fields are swarming with plants and animals of a certain kind, the species might be destined for extinction.”9

Damage proven but PG&E argues against mitigation.
By December 1999, PG&E’s own new study was made public in draft form. It revealed that Diablo Canyon was killing significant numbers of near-shore fish larvae.10 “One species of kelp fish suffers 24 percent larvae mortality, two species of Sculpin larvae were reduced by 10 percent and 7 percent respectively and 14 percent of monkey-faced Prickleback young are killed,” the study stated.11 The study also found that about 90 percent of the black abalone that once inhabited the cove had succumbed to withering syndrome, a fatal disease that has also affected the red abalone. This disease has been attributed to the higher water temperatures created by the plant’s discharge system. Despite these numbers, the PG&E legal team continued to argue that “the plant’s impacts on the ocean are predictable, minimal and temporary, and no mitigation action is needed.”12 The state Department of Fish and Game and the state Water Resources Control Board disagreed, and both submitted substantial testimony in support of a cease and desist order.

More delays as environmental damage continues. No decision was made at the March 30, 2000, meeting. Testimony and rebuttals from both sides were provided to the board for a decision at the next meeting, on June 2, 2000. In the interim, during evidentiary hearings, PG&E turned down one mitigation proposal from the state—to preserve in perpetuity the 12,000 acres surrounding the plant. Jeff Lewis, Diablo Canyon spokesman, said that handing over 14 miles of valuable coastal land was too high a price to pay. PG&E also declared as financially unacceptable the construction of cooling towers, the less destructive alternative to the once-through cooling system.13

Discovery of suppressed evidence shows extensive damage. In May 2000 during the evidentiary hearings, it was discovered that PG&E had withheld, since 1986, infrared images that showed the actual distribution patterns of the thermal plume and impact zones.14 PG&E had also withheld 20-year-time-series photographs of the monitoring stations. The extensive library of historical photos showed major deterioration of Diablo Cove.15 PG&E had also collected temperature-monitoring data during 1997 and 1998 from the area north of Diablo Cove. These data were not submitted until May 1, 2000 (even though annual monitoring reports were submitted in 1998 and 1999).16 The temperature-monitoring data only came to light during the discovery process. The state’s testimony further documents that, during earlier evidentiary hearings for the cease and desist order, PG&E’s legal counsel had argued “extensively” the degree of elevated temperatures in this same area was “unknown” while PG&E staff, aware of the data, remained silent.17

Water board buckles to PG&E pressure.
Prior to the final June hearing, PG&E reportedly entertained negotiations with the RWQCB with an offer to spend $75 million to build a deep-water intake and discharge system in lieu of paying any fines levied by the order.18 However, at the June hearing, the RWQCB instead succumbed to the utility when PG&E threatened protracted and costly law suits if faced with the issuance of a cease and desist order to mitigate fully for the damage it had caused. On October 27, 2000, the utility and the RWQCB settled for a meager $4.5 million restoration package and the preservation of 5.7 miles of company-owned coastline habitat.

Without addressing the ongoing harmful thermal discharges, the settlement included:

•      preservation of an unspecified amount of company-owned watersheds draining to the coastline from Fields Cove
•      PG&E payment of $4 million for unspecified marine restoration projects in the vicinity of the reactor
•      opening of Diablo Canyon Power Plant biological research laboratories to educational organizations for a 10-year period
•      payment of $350,000 through company contributions for black abalone restoration through artificial cultivation and transplants
•      reduction of PG&E’s marine environment monitoring program for the Diablo Canyon discharges
•      a narrow provision to protect the settlement against future changes in law, regulations, and permit conditions related to the settlement.

The public intervenors in the California case strenuously objected to the board’s adoption of a settlement that failed to address the specific violations of the Diablo National Pollution Discharge System permit as documented by the board’s own legal staff.19 The ongoing thermal discharges continue to violate the provisions of the water discharge permit that states that: (1) there shall be no degradation of indigenous species, (2) there shall be no degradation of marine communities, including plants and invertebrate and vertebrate animals, and also (3) the elevated temperature of the receiving water shall not have any adverse effect on beneficiary uses. The intervenors also objected to the abdication of the board’s regulatory responsibilities to protect water resources and marine life from the indisputable ongoing and growing damage from the generator’s cooling system.

Had the board approved and issued a cease and
desist order, PG&E could have faced fines of
millions of dollars a day for the past 15 years.

Had the board approved and issued a cease and desist order, PG&E could have faced fines of millions of dollars a day for the past 15 years. Additionally, PG&E’s proposal to extend the hot water discharges farther out into the cove or beyond, tantamount to constructing a superhighway on the ocean floor, would likely have caused new and as yet unexplored harmful environmental consequences and would have required an environmental impact statement. Furthermore, artificially cultivating black abalone and placing them back into the same environment in which they were destroyed, without reducing die rates or temperatures of the discharge water, fails to protect the species’ long-term survival. This license to kill black abalone for the foreseeable future could mark the obliteration of the Diablo Cove population.

1  Silas Lyons, “53.6 Million for Morro Estuary,” San Luis Obispo Telegram—Tribune, May 28, 1997.
2 See also: Glenn Roberts, Jr., “Estuary Program in the Right Place at the Right Time,” San Luis Obispo Telegram—Tribune, May 29, 1997.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 David Sneed, “Water Board Delays Sanctions,” San Luis ObispoTelegram— Tribune, November 20, 1999.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Edward O. Wilson, “The Diversity of Life,” (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1999), p. 237. ”
9 Ibid.
10 David Sneed, “Study: Diablo Killing Fish Larvae,” San Luis Obispo Telegram—Tribune, December 14, 2000.
11  Ibid.
12 David Sneed, “Warm-Water Outflow Has Altered Cove’s Ecosystem – but Is That Bad?” Telegram—Tribune, January 16, 2000.
13  Ibid.
14  Michael Thomas, project manager, California Regional Water Quality Control Board—Central Coast Region, “Rebuttal Testimony in Support of Cease and Desist Order No. 00-032,” May 5, 2000, p. 6.
15 Ibid.
16 Ibid.
17 Ibid.

The SLC’s recent hearing process was clearly used by PG&E and SLO County to create a fake Public Trust Doctrine scenario for Diablo Canyon.  As will be shown in the Policy Impacts section, the state’s solar industry has already created 65,000 jobs and will generate over ten times the amount of power the reactors produce in the next five years! 

The Land Commission’s staff could have used California’s Environmental Quality Act rather than its own recently adopted rules to require an EIR. As research shows, Lt. Governor Newsom spent years fighting for PG&E during the time he sided with the company rather than the many San Franciscans who were demanding that the city setup its own Community Choice program back in 2008.

Policy Implications

The state of California has the 6th largest economy in the world, having become a world leader in its Climate Change and renewable energy planning. Yet, the state’s policies are still stuck in their infancy and subject to serious manipulation as we have seen with Governor Brown’s success at winning over the State Legislature in the initiative to reform the CPUC. Those who are not familiar with the growing CPUC Scandal may want to read this piece. It is very clear that corruption within the CPUC played a prominent role in the procurement of replacement power brought online after the sudden closure of San Onofre in 2013.

Unlike much of the rest of the United States, California has been slowly taking back control of our own energy policy that has long been in the hands of private companies whose bottom line has been instrumental in stonewalling the many reforms that environmentalists have been demanding for decades. Just as the California drought problem in the late 1970’s took nearly 30 years before resolving the public’s vs. private water interests, we are barely a decade into our statewide energy policies that focus on our growing climate concerns.

We have to step back and thank the incredible work that the California Energy Commission has done for decades with its annual reviews of how the state’s energy mix has been developed by the Investor Owned Utilities (IOU) and their centralized baseload agenda.  The disastrous 2001 energy crisis that led to many parts of the country moving ahead with deregulating their electric oversight has already shown that most of the country’s aging nuclear fleet is incapable of competing with Natural Gas or solar power.  Those facts hit home when PG&E acknowledged this reality when it agreed to close Diablo Canyon, stating that half of its power was no longer needed.

But in the case of the proposed agreement PG&E has made with the six groups, at least two of these groups are out of state national organizations that don’t appear to have the same interests as Californians as they have failed to read the growing impatience with our too big to fail IOU’s that have long had very differing views than the public. Friends of the Earth  and NRDC have no qualms of supporting PG&E’s agenda of  central solar stations vs. rooftop solar as shown in a recent interview of PG&e” president just prior to the Diablo Canyon agreement. Yet as shown in the recent SF Chronicle article, many parts of the state are moving towards Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) models to obtain renewable energy generation rather than letting the big three’s agenda of pushing for large centralized baseload power sources. The state has long had to pay these companies to accept Net Metering. Yet at every turn, they have opposed it, using the mess in Germany to rationalize a nationally organized campaign to stop solar rooftop expansion. Following the SLC’s flip-flop led by Gavin Newsom, it is becoming increasingly clear that he hasn’t shed his close ties to PG&E during his time as San Francisco’s mayor, when he supported PG&E rather than setting up a CCA for the city.

One of the most powerful new industrial market forces in California today is rooftop solar. Last winter they were in just a few weeks able to muster 130,000 signatures in just a few weeks to block PG&E and Southern California Edison’s attempt at the CPUC to kill Net Metering. TURN’s former lawyer, who is now a CPUC Commissioner that has been caught in all kinds of backroom deals with the electric companies,  according to the above article is now attempting find a balance between the two competing energy agenda’s in this state – the old Dinosaur culture vs. a dramatically empowered solar industry that is producing far more energy related jobs than we’ve seen in decades as we’ve now become a world leader in solar research related work!

In should be understood by all that Diablo Canyon’s existence means that the state has no real incentive to move quickly as the massive baseload that it represents stands in the way of building out in smaller spurts.   The proposal allows PG&E wait on new procurement requests until 2020! Why are we waiting? Because the current Net Metering law is clearly in PG&E’s sights which could very well be a game changer if rooftop power continues to expand at the pace it is fully capable of doing.

A recent report by the National Renewable Energy Labs says that up to 74% of California’s electricity needs could be met by solar rooftop power. And in addition,  with just a bit of work, homes with solar panels can use their Hot Water Heaters as a heat sink battery to store excess energy for later use. And it only grows more interesting as people using electric cars as to store excess power during peak production times.

We all may be familiar with the 2001 energy crisis when Enron and Texas companies tried to take control of our electric market, the nation’s largest. But few remember that it included an attempt by PG&E to sue the CPUC for $10 billion.  Let alone many other lawsuits since then. Every citizen in this country is treated based on their civil behavior. But this is not the case with large corporations.  In this case, PG&E should be considered a convicted criminal and every time its name is used, as is done with citizens – should include any convictions or illegal actions not to mention events that led to the death of Californians in the past.  How is it that a very large company can keep from being prosecuted for criminal behavior?  Easy, by having one of the largest legal departments in the United States that can force civilians to settle out of court as well get agreements that have locked in agreements protecting it from prosecution or details of wrongdoing!

Besides the current criminal and civil cases that PG&E is fighting over the death of 8 people in the San Bruno pipeline explosion in 2010, it also has faced many additional cases:

  • The Hinkley Ca. Brockovich affair in 1996 where PG&E settled out of court for $333 million that destroyed the lives of hundreds of people.  The settlement was reached to save the lives of many residents that would have been forced to wait many more years as PG&E carried out legal delays.
  • 1983 PCB fire in downtown San Francisco and across the state that impacted the health of linemen working on transformers.
  • Annual deaths of linemen due to failed safety precautions – that were settled with fines.
  • In 1997, the EPA sent a request for the criminal prosecution of PG&E for lying for years on its Diablo Canyon environmental reports.  In 1998 the U.S. Justice Dept. instead agreed to a $14 million fine.

What we are in a sense doing here is letting a dying model of electric generation find a last desperate way to survive and possibly undermine the CCA, micro-grid revolution that has reports out that say it could replace 74% of our electric needs and do it much sooner than PG&E would ever dare to let happen!

PG&E is clearly terrified as it is now in the 2nd year of a massive public relation’s gambit in the bay area! Almost every hour on every possible TV and cable channel, the company has regular spots boasting about how much they love solar and how much they want the public to feel their love.  Whose paying for all these Ads?

How Much Time will it take to replace Diablo Canyon

First and foremost, PG&E’s own proposal for closure clearly states that it won’t start seeking replacement power until 2020, meaning that it has acknowledged that it doesn’t need ten years to ramp up replacement power!  We also know that rooftop solar has gone from less than 1% to 5.3% of the state’s mix in the last 4 years and that we are seeing expansion (see below facts) of the state’s development up on solar far greater than Diablo Canyon’s output.  In addition, PG&E acknowledged that half of Diablo Canyon is no longer needed due to the growth efficiency programs and a growing number of CCA programs by local communities that are pulling away from PG&E due to its long term failure to build solar for its customers, large and small.  Then there is the fact that by law California is required to have full backup power sources for all of its baseload generation facilities, including Diablo Canyon. The minute Diablo Canyon closes, all of the backup power is no longer needed and can either be retired or broken into smaller backup needs based on its production price or type.  State solar development data also shows that PG&E has either killed all of its solar rooftop development as of 2015 or their database has not been updated. There is no doubt that Northern California’s solar industry as shown by the below facts could easily continue to ramp up and suggested take over 74% of the state’s electric demand, not just the additional 4.3% needed to replace Diablo Canyon, since PG&E has acknowledged that half of it isn’t needed!  The below SEIA facts point out that the industry will create nearly ten times the amount of power produced by Diablo Canyon in the next five years!  From these facts alone, it should be clear that PG&E is being allowed to produce unneeded and expensive power long after it is needed!

Facts on the California Solar Industry(source SEIA)

  • There are currently more than 2,754 solar companies1 at work throughout the value chain in California, employing 75,598 people2.
  • In 2015, California installed 3,266 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking it first nationally3.
  • In 2015, $7.268 billion was invested on solar installations in California.
  • The 13,942 MW of solar energy currently installed in California ranks the state first in the country in installed solar capacity.  There is enough solar energy installed in the state to power 3,494,000 homes.
  • Over the next five years, California is expected to install 22,645 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking the state first over that time span. This amount is more than 3 times the amount of solar installed over the last five years.
  • Installed solar PV system prices in the U.S. have dropped steadily– by 12% from last year and 66% from 2010.

California’s Drought and Climate Change Planning

The state is facing a twin crisis of major concern.  The state has clearly gone beyond the land’s Carrying Capacity as agribusiness, and dry areas of the state (SoCal) have outstripped the amount of water available, leading to an after effect of the recent drought.  Even though there was moderate rainy season state officials continue to claim we are in a drought, when it is really just a matter of too much demand, primarily by the state’s massive agribusiness sector that produces the vast majority of the country’s food. It took nearly 30 years to work out a balance between the state’s primary water users after the 1975-77 drought.  Yet, there are clearly far worse problems that politicos refuse to take to the public.  A decade ago, researchers discovered that the state has suffered to one hundred year plus droughts in the last 1,300 years.  Such events, of course would mean the end of state as we know it if even a fraction of one of these mega events were to occur.

To complicate this is the fact that the Climate Change scientists are predicting that the state will also experiencing dryer longer periods as well increased sea levels that will impact three of its largest urban areas. But California is not an island.  This past spring Climate studies suggest that both Africa and the Middle East could become global “Sacrifice Zones” that could lead to ever increasing migratory pressures upon the rest of the world.  A certain amount of Europe’s crisis is already related to this as water continues to be the leading cause of unrest in these parts of the world.  Forecasts predict greater forest fires and even the full melt of the Arctic Ice cap as early as this fall!

As a result, much of the world is moving in exactly the opposite direction of California as the use of coal and oil are increasing across most of the world as it struggles to move into the modern era.  What is needed of course is a global war on Climate Change, as suggested by Lester Brown – the kind shift that took place during World War II where the country stopped making luxury cars  and instead built wind and solar on every house in this country, then extending it to helping other countries! His plan suggested that Detroit could switch to building wind and solar in a matter of months that could then crank out incredible numbers – like we saw with the bay area being able to produce a single 700 foot long ship in a matter of a few days – just as China now has the capacity to produce a 30 story hotels with the latest seismic standards in less the 18 days!

A dream? Not if such an major weather event were to happen! Yes, We now have one of the biggest electric companies in the world, whose bloody president is a former top member of the Nuclear Energy Institute acknowledging many things, other like the time to bring more reactors online as well as price realities says much about where a substantial part of the country, not to mention many other countries that are currently considering jumping into the nuclear could quickly go with the appropriate cultural Sea Change – I mention this because it is the global nuclear market place led primarily by Russia that continues to give the U.S. nuclear industry its primary hope, as they are currently in negotiations with nearly 30 countries worldwide to build new reactor complexes. If countries like South Africa and others that are considering major new investments in nuclear reactors were to reverse themselves simply because they now have another model – California – that shows how to pull off a renewable energy program, we might be able to at least slow down the nuclear punks that just won’t give up.

This is what we need to see happen! Its really possible. Well? If all those climate scientists are right, then its just a matter of time when a super typhoon like the one the Philippines experienced the year before could hit the east coast or even Mexico and the west coast. Not pretty, but the writing is on the wall…

As clearly shown, PG&E has manipulated the public trust to keep Diablo Canyon open and well funded. It has broken state and federal laws and bent the will of California politicians to get its way. It has long been able to use our money to buy the best legal and technical support in the country as demonstrated by its ongoing seismic safety (sic) strategy which went into high gear soon after Fukushima.

Following the 2011 disaster in Japan, Diablo Canyon’s  Senior Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Inspector – Dr. Michael Peck, determined that the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility was not engineered to withstand the kind of ground motion that could occur – possibly triggering a nuclear meltdown.  CPUC e-mails that came out during discovery hearings exposed his findings and revealed how PG&E and the NRC’s bureaucrats got around his findings by transferring him to Tennessee.

In addition, former CEC commissioner John Gleesman, wrote into the SLC’s record that its staff summary of the seismic issues was outdated and flawed. Yet PG&E’s claimed that California was in good hands in case of a major quake. Additional testimony by two geologists as well as a presentation by Dr. Dan Hirsch during the hearings were also ignored.

Full John Geesman Letter


June 27, 2016
The Honorable Betty T. Yee, State Controller and Chair
California State Lands Commission
100 Howe Avenue, Suite 100 South
Sacramento, CA, 95825

Re: Calendar Item 96 on the agenda for the June 28, 2016 meeting;
PG&E’s Proposed New Lease at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

Dear Chair Yee:

My client, the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility (“A4NR”), supports the Joint Proposal
and commends the other signatories for a truly historic achievement. A4NR declined, however,
to endorse the joint letter to the State Lands Commission (“SLC”) and strongly disputes its legal
analysis concerning CEQA and the Public Trust Doctrine. We urge the Commission to exercise
its discretion to initiate a full EIR process and, using the information gathered, conduct an indepth
Public Trust analysis that is consistent with San Francisco Baykeeper, Inc. v. California
State Lands Commission (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 202.

The SLC staff report for Calendar Item 96 was not available until Thursday, June 23, and
it materially varies from the agenda posted on June 16 in altering the identified “CEQA
Consideration” for the new PG&E lease from “not a project” to “a categorically exempt project”
in conformity with the disputed legal analysis in the joint letter. Cal. Gov. Code §§ 11125 and
11125.3 limit the ability of the SLC to take action on the new PG&E lease, and A4NR requests
that any vote be deferred to a subsequent SLC meeting in light of the abbreviated review time
afforded the public.

Even an abbreviated review, however, makes obvious that the claimed Class 1
categorical exemption is ill-founded. Approval of the new PG&E lease will extend the period of
operation of the two Diablo Canyon reactors from an average of 32.9 years to 39.9 years, an
increase of 21% beyond the August 27, 2018 expiration of Lease No. PRC4307.1. By simple
arithmetic, the extended period of the new lease will enable a 21% increase in the creation of
spent nuclear fuel (aka radioactive waste) and a 21% increase in damage to marine organisms.1

1 The Resolution adopted on April 17, 2006 articulating SLC policy on once-through-cooling observes, “once through cooling significantly harms the environment by killing large numbers of fish and other wildlife, larvae and eggs” and “also significantly adversely affects marine, bay and estuarine environments by raising the temperature of the receiving waters, and by killing and displacing wildlife and plant life …”

It is beyond dispute that these significant effects on the physical environment will occur if the
reactors operate for the proposed new lease term. More ominously, the new PG&E lease will
increase the public’s exposure to potential reactor core-damaging seismic risk at Diablo Canyon
by 21%. Whether this poses a “reasonable possibility” of significant effects on the environment
requires careful evaluation of seismicity at Diablo Canyon, perhaps the SlC staff report’s largest

Seismic risk is a particular concern for Diablo Canyon’s Unit 1 reactor, which the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (“NRC”) identified in 2013 as the third-most embrittled reactor in the
United States.2

I was Governor Gray Davis’ last appointee to the California Energy Commission (“CEC”),
filling the attorney position identified in Cal. Pub. Res. Code §25201. I served as the presiding
member of the Commission’s Facilities Siting Committee from 2002 to 2008, helped issue
nearly two dozen power plant licenses, and expended considerable time applying CEQA to
electric generating facilities. Both the joint letter and the SLC staff report are understandably
enchanted by the political optics of the Joint Proposal, but bear no resemblance whatsoever to
California’s statutory and decisional law.

At a less delusional point in time, a previous SLC staff report on the proposed new PG&E
lease, prepared for Calendar Item Informational 83 on the SLC’s February 9, 2016 meeting
agenda, accurately summarized controlling law:

An exception to the general categorical exemption, however, applies where there
is a “reasonable possibility that the activity will have a significant effect on the
environment due to unusual circumstances.” (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 15300.2,
subd. (c).)

The California Supreme Court has recently held that:

[A] party invoking the [unusual circumstances] exception may establish an
unusual circumstance without evidence of an environmental effect, by
showing that the project has some feature that distinguishes it from others
in the exempt class, such as its size or location. In such a case, to render
the exception applicable, the party need only show a reasonable
possibility of a significant effect due to that unusual circumstance.
(Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (2015) 343 P.3d 834, 846.)
The DCPP’s nuclear fuel source and proximity to fault lines distinguish it from
other power plants in California and, essential to the plant’s operation, is the
DCPPcooling water system, with many components authorized under the CSlC


leases. The DCPP is the only active nuclear power plant in California, supplying
approximately 18,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually …

The current SLC staff report omits this guidance in favor of far more vacuous language
drawn from the joint letter, and refuses to even acknowledge the “unusual circumstances”
presented by the state’s only operating nuclear plant: the sole source of additional high-level
nuclear waste; California’s largest marine predator, in the words of the Coastal Commission
staff recommendation to the State Water Resources Control Board;3 and by far the most lethal
seismic risk in the United States. The CEC’s 2015 Integrated Energy Policy Report contains a
jarring graph from the Electric Power Research Institute of the ground motion response
spectrum acceleration reported by each U.S. nuclear plant, noting “the unique nature of the
seismic analysis imposed upon” Diablo Canyon as the “most significant outlier” in the national
nuclear fleet. 4

The SLC staff report’s seismic discussion is breathtakingly inaccurate, choosing to recycle
outdated PG&E nostrums and simply ignore the series of debunking reports issued by the
Independent Peer Review Panel (“IPRP”) of state agencies assembled to review PG&E’s seismic
work.5 Some of the more obvious examples:

• SLC staff report: “the Shoreline fault … is approximately 25 kilometers in length …”

IPRP Report No.7: “Based on the new mapping … the Shoreline fault is
essentially a continuous feature from its intersection with the Hosgri fault, for a
distance of 45 km.”

• SLCstaff report: “PG&E believes that the Shoreline fault is segmented into northern,
central, and southern segments and is not capable of jointly rupturing with the Hosgri
fault. The significance is that larger fault lines produce larger earthquakes; 6  gaps
between fault segments act as barriers, lowering the intensity of possible earthquakes.”

IPRP Report No.7: “the Shoreline fault is essentially a continuous feature from
its intersection with the Hosgri fault …” *** “With respect to seismic hazard, this
investigation has shown that effectively, there is a direct connection between
the two fault zones, with the intersection located at a graben that is structurally
controlled by the Hosgri and Point Buchon fault zones. Furthermore, this graben

4 California Energy Commission, 2015 Integrated Energy Policy Report, p. 183.
5 Cat. Pub. Utit. Code §712. The IPRP’s ten reports issued to date can be accessed at
6 PG&E testimony to the CPUC in 2015 asserted that “there is not a large increase in high-frequency ground shaking levels for sites located close to shallow crustal earthquakes for magnitudes above about magnitude 6.5 (M6.5).” A.14-02-008, PG&E-2, p. 7-4.

is located about 500 meters east of the main trace of the Hosgri fault zone,
which is well within the upper limit of 5 km that is typically viewed as the
maximum distance that earthquake ruptures can jump from fault to fault (e.g.
Wesnousky, 2008). Based on this work, it appears that this study has provided
the data necessary to address the question regarding if and how the two fault
zones are connected, at least in the near surface.” *** “0ne minor
recommendation the IPRP has is that PG&E simplify the naming nomenclature
for the zone of faults currently referred to as the Point Buchon and Shoreline
fault zones. Based on this work, it is apparent the Shoreline fault zone. the
Point Buchon fault zone. and possibly the Shoreline seismicity lineaments are
related structures.”

• SLC staff report: ” … relying on the lack of intersection of surface traces between the two
faults, PG&E concludes that the Shoreline and Hosgri faults do not connect …”

IPRP Report NO.7: “This new mapping shows that the Hosgri and Shoreline
faults are essentially connected in the near-surface. As a result, seismic hazard
models that do not consider the possibility of these faults linking no longer need
to be considered …

Compounding its reliance on stale assessments, the SlC staff report cites a 2012 NRC
conclusion that “rules out the possibility of joint rupture” of the Hosgri and Shoreline faults.
The SlC staff report neglects to point out that this observation predated PG&E’s 2014
publication of new seismic imaging data, and that the NRC hedged its 2012 observation by
directing PG&E to notify the NRC if, “during the collection of the data, new faults are discovered
or information is uncovered that would suggest the Shoreline fault is more capable than
currently believed.’7 PG&E did just that on September 10, 2014, admitting that “additional
offshore seismic studies revealed that the Shoreline fault is longer by extending farther south
than in the Shoreline Fault report (Reference 3), and therefore. more capable as described in
the enclosure.:” The SLC staff report’s continued reliance on Reference 3 is clearly misplaced.
Nor does the SLC staff report demonstrate any awareness of the continuing controversy
over whether Diablo Canyon is in current compliance with its licensed seismic design basis, the
so-called Double Design Earthquake (“DDE”). As the NRC has acknowledged since 2012, “using
the DOE as the basis of comparison will most likely result in the Shoreline fault and the Hosgri
earthquake being reported as having greater ground motion” than the plant’s Safe Shutdown

7 Letter from Joseph M. Sebrosky, NRC Senior Project Manager for Plant Licensing Branch IV, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, to Edward D. Halpin, PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, October 12, 2012, p. 4,
8 PG&E Letter DCL-14-081 from Edward D. Halpin, PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, to NRC Commissioners and Staff, September 10, 2014, p. 2.
Earthquake.” The NRCsenior resident inspector at Diablo Canyon who cited PG&E for violation
of its seismic design standard, and recommended the plant be shut down until compliance
could be established, was subsequently transferred to an NRC position in Chattanooga,

Figure 56 from the CEC’s 2015 Integrated Energy Policy Report graphically displays the
substantial exceedance of the DDE standard in the probabilistic seismic hazard assessment
contained in PG&E’s March 11,2015 Seismic Hazard Re-evaluation Report.”? The CEC’s
conclusion: “Presumably for this reason, and after a preliminary review of PG&E’s PSHA study,
the NRC directed PG&E to undertake additional earthquake risk analysis and to submit the
additional analysis by June 2017.”11 The SLC staff report’s failure to include any discussion of
Diablo Canyon’s seismic license compliance is a significant oversight, especially in light of the
even more troubling graphs included in IPRP Report No.9 (Figures 5 and 6) showing large
exceedances of the 1977 Hosgri and 1991 LTSP spectra when PG&E’s data-sparse ground
modeling is replaced by the conventional ergodic methodology.

Given that the $64.25 million ratepayer-funded studies that the IPRPwas convened to
review comprised the most expensive seismic re-evaluation of a nuclear plant ever performed
in the US, the SLC staff report’s failure to address IPRP commentary is a substantial error.
PG&E’s current federal prosecution on safety-related and agency obstruction felony counts
related to its natural gas business is unprecedented for any utility holder of an NRCoperating
license. The implications for the Diablo Canyon licenses of a potential criminal conviction are
unclear. Under such circumstances, state government’s transactional trust-but-verify standard
deserves to be applied with forensic intensity. It is abundantly obvious that has not happened

A4NR invites the SLC members to join with the Joint Proposal signatories in celebrating
the onset of a new energy era. Of necessity, however, your admission to the festivities must be
deferred until after you make a properly informed decision on whether to approve a new lease.
It would be a grotesque abuse of your discretion to fail to initiate a full EIR process.


9 Letter to Edward D. Halpin from Joseph M. Sebrosky, NRC Senior Project Manager for Plant Licensing Branch IV, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, October 12, 2012, p. 4. This remarkable statement was repeated by Dr. Cliff Munson, an NRC seismologist, in testimony at a 2013 CEC workshop. Docket No.13-IEP-lJ, June 19, 2013, Transcript, p. 89,
10 California Energy Commission, 2015 Integrated Energy Policy Report, p. 183.
11 id.

The Honorable Betty T. Yee, State Controller and Chair
June 27, 2016

Cc: The Honorable Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor and Member
The Honorable Michael Cohen, Governor’s Finance Director and Member
Jennifer lucchesi, Executive Officer
Attachment: CD-R disk entitled “Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility’s submittal to the administrative
record for Calendar Item No. 96 on the agenda for the June 28, 2016 meeting of the
California State lands Commission”

51O.H99.4670 ‘1999 Harrison Street, Suite 2000, Oakland, CA 94612

In the end, the commissioners reproached the audience for its ignorance of the relevant facts, and reminded it that they had executed their official duty by balancing the public trust.

Full Gavin Newsom Letter

On the one hand I have Fukushima etched in my memory, and on the other hand we are tackling fossil-fuel driven climate change as a state. These two existential problems are paradoxical where nuclear power is concerned. If I could decommission Diablo Canyon and replace it responsibly without increased carbon emissions tomorrow, I would do it. But that was not a realistic option before us. We did, however, use the threat of this lease renewal to force PG&E into address the long-term future of nuclear power in California — which will now end, categorically, in 2025 and be replaced only by renewable GHG-free sources of energy.

When California’s last nuclear plant, San Onofre, ceased operations overnight the state was forced to replace its lost output with natural gas sources. In effect, California lost a non-GHG emitting source of power at San Onofre and was forced to replace it with a GHG spewing natural gas (which in some cases is extracted through fracking). 1,100 working Californians lost their jobs overnight. Wholesale energy prices skyrocketed, hitting consumers indiscriminately of financial means. Typically, those who could least afford it were hit hardest. The rushed closure of that plant was lose-lose for everyone: our climate, our economy, our workforce.

This decision on Diablo Canyon was incredibly complex and of no surprise to me that decisions have been avoided. There’s been a deafening vacuum of political leadership on Diablo Canyon, of politicians too afraid to challenge the status quo and address an issue without instant political upside.

Until now. In partnership with Betty, we have accomplished concessions from PG&E that will ring alarm bells around the world and sets a new chapter in energy history. This is what we accomplished:

1. The closure of California’s last nuclear plant in 2025 at the latest.

2. A signed and written agreement that the lost power of Diablo Canyon can only be replaced by a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiencies

3. The written public acknowledgement, for the first time, by a major utility corporation that renewable energy is more cost efficient than nuclear power.

4. The written public acknowledgement, for the first time, by a major utility corporation that the era of baseload power is over, and that renewable sources can carry the weight of energy production.

5. A signed and written agreement that PG&E will provide 55% of its entire energy sales through renewable sources, from 2031.

6. A signed and written agreement from PG&E that it will implement a fair employee retirement, redeployment and retraining program for its Diablo Canyon workforce of 1,500 men and women, to protect those workers and their families from unemployment and hardship.

7. A signed and written agreement from PG&E to backfill lost Diablo Canyon revenues to the county of San Luis Obispo, to minimize the impact on the public services like schools that we all so deeply cherish.

Those who called for an EIR review have not been able to explain what it would accomplish above and beyond these concessions. My call for an EIR in December was not as a legal statement, but means to bring PG&E to the table. I know EIRs intimately. They were used against my business by a neighbor who did not support my decision to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples in 2004, in defiance of state and federal law. Like all EIRs, it was designed to slow down the process of moving forward not accelerating it. I also know this: had we opted for an EIR, it would have been appealed. A court would have eventually adjudicated and it would have been appealed, and appealed again, and appealed again. The court process on an EIR of this magnitude would take years to resolve and ultimately, in my judgment, would have sided with PG&E on whether or not the State Lands Commission was able to conduct an EIR on the existing and unaltered intake and outtake pipes that were before us for lease renewal.

In my judgment, the net result of an EIR would have been years of protracted court agreements, a win for PGE, and no solution on Diablo Canyon. Even had an EIR been upheld, we’re looking at near-identical timelines for the plants closure, without the guarantees of its replacement by 100% renewable energy sources and energy efficiencies, without the 55% renewable portfolio, without the head-turning global acknowledgement on the benefit of renewables over nuclear and baseload power structures, and without the worker and community protections.

I recognize that no good deed goes unpunished. It’s a price I’ve paid in taking on the NRA, big tobacco, oil companies, plastic bag industry, the church, and more. It’s the price of leadership.

Diablo Canyon will close by 2025. We have secured monumental environmental victories and honorable protections for workers and public services. Along with Friends of the Earth and the Natural Resources Defense Council, I am committed to holding PG&E accountable to their agreement.

Gavin —–

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