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PG&E delays filing Diablo Canyon closure plan

PG&E has yet to file its joint proposal outlining its closure plans for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant with the California Public Utilities Commission, despite initially saying it would file the plans Thursday.
PG&E has yet to file its joint proposal outlining its closure plans for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant with the California Public Utilities Commission, despite initially saying it would file the plans Thursday. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

PG&E is delaying the filing of its plans to close Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant with the state to give more time for local agencies — including the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, which gathered public comment on the closure Tuesday afternoon — to weigh in on the plans.

PG&E has yet to file its joint proposal outlining its closure plans with the California Public Utilities Commission, despite initially saying it would file the plans Thursday.

The company now plans to file the proposal on or before Aug. 11 to give time for more “positive ongoing discussion” with local stakeholders, according to a news release.

We’ve had a long, and good, and sometimes complex relationship with PG&E here locally, and it will continue on, I think, in good fashion beyond this.

Adam Hill, 3rd District Supervisor

At their meeting Tuesday, supervisors heard public testimony regarding the closure, though they took no official action.

The comments gathered will likely help the county format its stance on the closure, as the countdown to the plant’s planned shutdown in 2025 continues.

“We’ve had a long, and good and sometimes complex relationship with PG&E here locally, and it will continue on, I think, in good fashion beyond this,” 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill said at the end of the meeting. “But we do have a responsibility to the public, and the public to be and the visitors who enjoy our area.”

Chief among the questions raised at Tuesday’s meeting was what would happen to the more than 12,000 acres around the nuclear power plant, including the Wild Cherry Canyon area of Avila Beach.

It is time to ensure that the Dream Initiative becomes a reality.

Andrew Christie, Director of the Santa Lucia Chapter of The Sierra Club

In 2000, county voters passed an advisory measure known as the Dream Initiative, urging the conservation of all Diablo Canyon lands after the plant eventually closed. Since PG&E’s announcement in June that it would close the plant in 2025, some concerns have been raised that the lands would be developed, and groups such as Friends of Wild Cherry Canyon have been urging the board to approve a resolution enforcing the initiative.

“Support the Dream resolution,” Kara Woodruff told supervisors Tuesday. “It’s a vote for democracy, it’s a vote for your local economy and, most importantly for us, it’s a vote for conservation.”

Andrew Christie, director of the Santa Lucia Chapter of The Sierra Club, also spoke in support of passing a Dream resolution.

“It is time to ensure that the Dream Initiative becomes a reality,” he said.

Though the board didn’t take action on a resolution Tuesday, 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold offered a brief comment on the Dream Initiative. Arnold worked on the initiative as a legislative assistant to then-supervisor Mike Ryan.

“It was just a ‘someday, far out there, someday if this ever happens, we want to have a little imprint, and maybe influence on what happened after that,’ ” she said. “So here we are today, and it’s not a far away distant whatever and whenever — it’s almost starting to sound like reality.”

Moving forward, the county has already ensured itself a seat at the table for the state closure proceedings: The Board of Supervisors and the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, which would theoretically be the agency most impacted by the loss of property tax revenue, both voted to become intervenors. That would give both groups a voice at the California Public Utilities Commission in what promises to be a long path to finalizing the plant’s closure.

“There’s a lot to do to sort this out,” 2nd District Supervisor Bruce Gibson said Tuesday. “I think the thing for the public to understand is that this is going to take awhile. It’s nine years to the closure. It’s decades after that to the decommission.”

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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