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Governor signs bill to give SLO County $85 million Diablo Canyon closure settlement

Bill Monning, Jordan Cunningham announce Diablo Canyon bill ensuring $85 million settlement

California state Sen. Bill Monning and Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham announce Senate Bill 1090, which would give SLO County the full $85 million settlement for economic mitigation first proposed in plans to close Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
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California state Sen. Bill Monning and Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham announce Senate Bill 1090, which would give SLO County the full $85 million settlement for economic mitigation first proposed in plans to close Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

A bill that would give San Luis Obispo County communities $85 million to mitigate the impacts of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant closing was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday.

The bill, authored by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), will direct the California Public Utilities Commission to approve the $85 million settlement and PG&E’s full $350 million proposed employee retention and retraining program.

“I am extremely pleased that Governor Brown has signed (the bill), especially given what this will mean to the community, the Diablo Canyon workforce, and the future of the region,” Monning said in a news release. “By fully implementing the joint proposal under the legislation, the region will have stability and security as the transition to the closure of Diablo Canyon moves forward.”

In January, the commission approved PG&E’s application to shutter the state’s last remaining nuclear power plant by 2025. But it knocked down its proposed settlement to San Luis Obispo County, local cities and school districts, saying it could not charge PG&E ratepayers as a whole for the deal.

Diablo Canyon is the largest private employer in the county with nearly 1,500 workers, and has an estimated $1 billion impact on the local community.

“This law will help cushion the blow to our local economy,” Cunningham said in the release. “It will bring transitionary support for the families, jobs, government organizations and schools that rely on Diablo Canyon.”

The settlement was proposed in 2016, after a coalition of seven local cities — all but Grover Beach —joined forces with the county and the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, saying PG&E’s initial mitigation plans were not enough to help the economy weather the closure.

Of the $85 million settlement, $75 million was expected to go to offset property tax losses by the school district, the county and 69 other special districts and $10 million would go for economic development efforts in the county and cities.

The company also agreed to pay between $37.5 million and $62.5 million toward local emergency planning efforts until all spent fuel is in dry cask storage and the two nuclear reactors are fully decommissioned.

Third District Supervisor Adam Hill — whose district includes Diablo Canyon — said he was grateful to Monning and Cunningham for shepherding the bill through legislature, and to the governor for signing it.

“This money will help the community best prepare for what will be difficult choices ahead,” Hill wrote in an email. “Revenues will be lost, jobs will be lost and we will need to ramp up our head-of-household jobs activities. This gives us a needed shot in the arm to charge forward into the future.”

San Luis Obispo City Manager Derek Johnson, who also represents the coalition of cities, called the bill a “positive step forward.”

“This has been an incredible regional collaboration and victory for San Luis Obispo County,” he wrote in an email. “SB 1090 provides one-time economic assistance for communities that have shouldered the burden of living with a nuclear power plant in their backyard for the last three decades to provide the rest of the State with clean, reliable power. This is a positive step forward and the first step of many that we need to take to address the economic impacts of Diablo Canyon’s planned closure in 2025.”

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Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie
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