Kirk Gothier is one of the skilled former public servants that has joined Californians for Green Nuclear Power. He is putting his deep experience as a community development planner to good use during his retirement years. A brief summary of his experience can be found here.
Like other members of CGNP, Kirk is passionately concerned about enabling the continued operation of Diablo Canyon for at least another 29 years and potentially for 49 or 69 more years. It is a reliable source of abundant, emission-free electricity that has already been built and needs no new infrastructure investments. The environmental disruption associated with the plant took place more than 30 years ago. The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant — including the warm water it releases — is now a part of the local environment.
Kirk participated in the June 28 meeting of the California State Lands Commission and expressed his support for the continued operation of the plant until it is actually worn out.
After the meeting had concluded, Kirk sent the commission staff some feedback from his perspective as a citizen and former public servant with planning responsibilities.
He agreed to let me to share his letter with you to help spread his knowledge of agency responsibilities. That knowledge will be useful; there will be numerous contentious interactions with regulatory agencies for both existing reactors and new nuclear energy projects.
Dear State Lands Commission Staff,
Having practiced Community Development in California for over 4 decades, I must offer the following additional comments, concerns, and suggestions, based on the State Lands Commission (SLC) 6/28/16 meeting.
SLC action on Agenda Item 96, was made in violation of public noticing/meeting laws, with undisclosed ex-parte communication, based on an inapplicable CEQA Categorical Exclusion, prior to PG&E first securing all mandated County, State and Federal agency approvals, to close Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP).
As documented in the public record, and Commissioner discussion at the meeting:
- On 6/24/16, PG&E submitted a significantly revised “limited term” application lease application, for the operation and closure of DCPP,
- There was no 10 day notice of the SLC meeting, prior to consideration of this revised application,
- Commissioner Newsom confirmed having participated in several ex-parte meetings with PG&E and special interest groups, to discuss preparation of the Joint Proposal to close DCPP,
- The Staff Recommended CEQA Exclusion for “existing facilities” does not apply to the revised application, which included closure of an existing facility, and
- PG&E has not secured all required San Luis Obispo County and California Coastal Commission Local Coastal Plan Amendments and Coastal Development Permits, nor mandated CPUC and NRC approvals, to close DCPP.
The SLC does not have authority to effectively close a nuclear power plant, by denying a lease application to continue operation of an approved, operating, “existing facility.”
The SLC does not have the authority to act on any lease application that requires closure of DCPP, without fully disclosing all significant environmental impacts, including, but not limited to: increased air pollution, ocean acidification, public health and safety, scenic coastal resources, public facilities, and all cumulative impacts associated with the construction of conventional generating sources to replace DCPP clean power production.
In the future, it is vital that the State Lands Commission prepare an accurate project description, complete the mandated CEQA review, provide adequate public notice, and prepare a staff report which helps guide relevant public discussion, and results in an informed SLC action, in compliance with all Legislative mandates.
Senior Planning Advisor