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CPUC approves Diablo Canyon closure, denies $85 million settleme - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

CPUC approves Diablo Canyon closure, denies $85 million settlement for SLO County

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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Thursday approved Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E) proposal to close Diablo Canyon Power Plant.

In its decision, the CPUC denied PG&E's request for $85 million to be paid to San Luis Obispo County, local cities and the San Luis Coastal Unified School District to partially offset lost tax dollars and job cuts resulting from the closure unless PG&E receives "express legislative authorization" or uses shareholder funds.

The CPUC said in its decision it was concerned about the legality of having ratepayers pay for the $85 million and whether those funds would be distributed fairly.

PG&E plans to close the nuclear power plant near Avila Beach by 2025. 

The CPUC did authorize PG&E to recover $241.2 million in rates to pay for the cost of retiring the plant, including $211.3 million for employee retention, $11.3 million for worker retraining, and $18.6 million for Diablo Canyon license renewal expenses.

PG&E released the following statement in response to the decision:
"The DCPP joint proposal represented a significant milestone in the planning to meet California's ambitious clean energy vision. We appreciate the CPUC's thoughtful consideration of this complex issue and its approval of certain elements. 
While we are disappointed that they did not approve the full employee retention program, as well as the community impact mitigation and energy efficiency programs, we are appreciative that the CPUC took the positive step to increase the amount of funding for employee retention beyond their original proposed decision. 
The joint proposal represents an array of interests from many parties who joined together to promote the best path forward for our state and PG&E's customers. Since the full proposal was not approved, in line with our agreement, PG&E will be meeting to confer with our labor, community and environmental group partners in the days ahead about the decision, our next steps and the path forward."

San Luis Obispo County Administrative Officer Wade Horton released the following statement regarding the decision: 

“We’re disappointed. The County worked with a broad community and business coalition to develop a program that would help us protect local public health, safety and economic stability. This continues to be our top priority. We will continue collaborating with our partners to determine the best path forward.”

The County and its partners can now reportedly pursue a legislative approach or PG&E can pledge shareholder funds to support the Community Impact Mitigation Program.

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham also issued a statement expressing his disappointment: "Today's decision by the Public Utilities Commission is extremely disappointing. It fails to provide the resources we need to smoothly deal with Diablo's closure.  Diablo has provided thousands of jobs in our region, as well as clean and reliable energy, for more than three decades.  I'll be working with Senator Monning and community leaders to find ways to mitigate the impact of the PUC's unfortunate decision today."

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (MFP) say they welcome Thursday's decision. MFP attorney Sabrina Venskus summarized the organization's reaction, saying, "The Commission made a well-reasoned and fair decision in this case. We are pleased that the Commission acknowledged that earlier closure of Diablo may be warranted, and has built into its Final Decision the possibility of challenging the continued operation of Diablo well before the anticipated 2024/2025 shutdown."

The Coalition of Cities released the following statement: "The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decision is very disappointing. Our region bore the risk of hosting a nuclear power plant that benefited millions of Californians, and will continue to bear those risks during the shutdown process and afterward, including the storage of nuclear wastes for an unknown time period. As a result, it is only fair that the people in this region receive support to reduce the significant economic, social, and environmental impacts of Diablo Canyon’s closure.

Despite the Commission’s decision, members of the Coalition of Cities are determined to find a successful path forward. On our own initiative, we will explore other options for mitigation, including working with PG&E and the Legislature. That includes Senator Bill Monning’s bill, which would require PG&E to submit a study on the closure’s adverse economic impacts on our region. In addition, Assembly Member Jordan Cunningham has expressed his willingness to sponsor legislation that could provide some mitigation money for the residents and businesses of this region."

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