San Luis Coastal school district will intervene in Diablo Canyon closure

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant
Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The San Luis Coastal Unified School District has joined San Luis Obispo County in having an official role in state proceedings related to Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The district’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday afternoon during a special closed meeting to formally intervene in all of Diablo Canyon’s proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission, including the plant’s closure and the proposed three-year general rate case starting in 2017.

“We are intervening to protect the interests of our 7,500 students, our 1,000 employees and the quality of education that we continue to provide in San Luis Coastal Unified School District,” said board member Marilyn Rodger, who read the board’s motion into the record after the closed session meeting.

In June, PG&E announced a joint agreement with labor unions and environmental groups to not seek license renewal for Diablo Canyon and shut down the plant in 2025. Both the county and school district complained about not being party to the negotiations, which were between PG&E, labor unions and environmental groups.

Rodger said the board does not yet have any specific goals it hopes to achieve by intervening in the CPUC proceedings.

“It’s a fluid situation and we really don’t have any comment until we get more information,” she said.

A financial aid package of $49.5 million that PG&E will pay to offset the loss of property taxes caused by the plant’s closure is of particular concern to the district. District Superintendent Eric Prater has said that amount is too low. Being an intervenor will give the district a seat at the table and an opportunity to improve the closure agreement.

Of all the agencies in the county, the school district has the biggest stake in the future of Diablo Canyon. It receives $10 million annually in property taxes from the utility.

Two days before Thursday’s vote, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted to be an intervenor. The county gets about $8 million in property taxes annually from the utility.

Because the county and the school district are real parties in interest in the CPUC’s proceedings regarding Diablo Canyon, their applications for intervenor status cannot be denied. An interested party is an entity that will be substantially impacted by the proceedings.