Legislation that would give San Luis Obispo County $85 million in Diablo Canyon mitigation funds passed key hurdles this week, after a group of county leaders lobbied in support of the bill.
Senate Bill 1090 passed out of both the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications and the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality. Next, the bill will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"This is going to be a really big hit on San Luis County as a whole if we don't get this legislation passed," District 1 Supervisor John Peschong said. "We're already starting to feel some of the effects of the shutdown even though it's going to happen in seven years. We do need help."
Peschong, along with representatives of San Luis Coastal Unified School District, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and other community members, traveled to Sacramento this week to express their support for the legislation.
"As the closure of Diablo Canyon moves forward, SB 1090 will help mitigate the economic impacts of plant retirement and protect workers, communities, and the environment," Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, said in news release.
"I'm disappointed that the plant is closing. But without a thoughtful plan for the Diablo retirement, there is a risk of premature closure and significant safety and energy supply concerns. This bill, SB 1090, will give the community and the state time to transition, and cushion the blow to our local economy," Cunningham said.
The bill would require the California Public Utilities Commission to approve the collection of ratepayer funds for the settlement, as well as PG&E's full $350 million proposed employee retention and retraining program.
PG&E plants to shutter the nuclear power plant by 2025. Diablo Canyon has an estimated $1 billion impact on the local economy and is the county's largest private industry employer.
Of urgent concern is how local agencies will deal with reduced tax revenue associated with the depreciation of the plant between now and its eventual closure, Peschong said.
"The plant generated $5.9 million for the county's general fund in 2015/2016. That will be reduced annually until 2025/2026 when it's predicted to be $164,000. The numbers for SLCUSD are equally grave: $7.8 million becomes $216,000," Peschong said.
"We have to provide the same services — sheriff, fire, public works. All those services don't change, but the revenue does," he added.