State Lands Commission Moves California One Step Closer to Nuclear-Free Energy Future
SACRAMENTO —With today’s unanimous vote of the California State Lands Commission (SLC), chaired by State Controller Betty T. Yee, California moved one step nearer to closing its last nuclear power plant.
Last week, Pacific Gas & Electric announced the company will forgo relicensing of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant through the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and begin a decommissioning process that would take until 2025. PG&E needed SLC to extend its two leases for Diablo Canyon through the end of its current federal licensing period before the agreement with environmental groups could advance further.
SLC Chairwoman Yee had demanded that negotiations maintain zero-greenhouse gas emission energy resources, provide for the retention and retraining of affected workers, and address the needs of the San Luis Obispo community. She entered Tuesday’s hearing cautiously optimistic and sought firm public commitments from the company.
“I am encouraged that PG&E took to heart the core requirements I laid out, making sure all were addressed in this agreement,” said Chairwoman Yee prior to Tuesday’s hearing.
At today's hearing, Chairwoman Yee successfully led the Commission to call on the State Water Resources Control Board to fully implement mitigation measures ensuring compliance with the once through cooling policy until the end of the SLC lease.
After the hearing in which she clarified crucial next steps as a condition of the SLC lease extension, Chairwoman Yee highlighted the importance of replacing Diablo Canyon’s current greenhouse gas-free energy output with environmentally conscious renewables.
She applauded the utility’s commitment to employees’ long-term needs saying, “With promised retraining, the dedicated men and women who have so ably operated Diablo Canyon will have the opportunity to be trailblazers for California’s green energy future.”
Before the agreement was reached to begin the Diablo Canyon decommissioning process, many environmental advocates were pushing for any lease extension to require a CEQA review. Yee and other SLC members indicated they were leaning that way as well, leading PG&E to start negotiations with Friends of the Earth in December of 2015.
PG&E will now embark on a 30-day public comment period before presenting their joint proposal on decommissioning to the California Public Utilities Commission.
As the chief fiscal officer of California, Controller Yee is responsible for accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources. The Controller also safeguards many types of property until claimed by the rightful owners, and has independent auditing authority over government agencies that spend state funds. She is a member of numerous financing authorities, and fiscal and financial oversight entities including the Franchise Tax Board. She also serves on the boards for the nation's two largest public pension funds. Elected in 2014, Controller Yee is the tenth woman elected to a statewide office in California’s history. Follow the Controller on Twitter at @CAController and on Facebook at California State Controller’s Office.