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Diablo Canyon decommissioning workshop seeks input from community on economic impacts

Posted at 6:48 AM, Oct 16, 2019

A public workshop planned for Thursday will allow citizens and experts to discuss how the 2025 closure of Diablo Canyon Power Plant will impact the economy and what kind of economic opportunities exist to offset the negative impacts.

The meeting is being held at the San Luis Obispo County Government Center from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and features panelists with backgrounds in energy, county leadership, economic strategy and higher education.

"Diablo Canyon employs about 1,500 employees and those are good high paying jobs," Nancy O'Malley, who is helping facilitate the event, said. "So we'll lose those jobs as well as the tax base of the plant closing."

Those impending economic losses are the focus of Thursday's panel.

"This workshop we're having on Thursday is focused on the economic impact and opportunities of the planned decommissioning," Lauren Brown, a Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel member, said.

Brown and O'Malley also want to hear from the community on how to best spend the money set aside through Senate Bill 1090, which allots $85 million to mitigate the losses.

"$10 million of that was specifically allocated for economic development so there will be a discussion at the workshop - how should those monies be spent? How can the counties and the cities use those funds to stimulate economic development?" O'Malley said.

Another long term goal is how to re-purpose the plant once it's closed in 2025.

"It will be 2035 before that facility is really available for full reuse," Brown said.

Brown said Michael Houlemard Jr., the former CEO of Fort Ord in Monterey, will share at the workshop how that facility was transformed for use as Monterey State University.

"He's going to share with us a number of lessons learned," Brown said.

A mix of expert experience and community concern are being brought together to help resolve some uncertainty.

"Involve the community to help strategize ideas and cast a vision for what do we want this region to look like going forward in the post Diablo Canyon days," O'Malley said.

The Thursday workshop will be followed up with a meeting Nov. 13 to discuss the conclusions and recommendations from the workshop, as well as receive any additional public comment.